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Sustainable Energy Innovation

This project seeks to understand the changes in corporate value creation and capture attributable to the emergence of sustainable energy innovations in the European energy sector.

It analyses these changes through a study of the ways in which electric utilities reconfigure their business ecosystems and develop new boundary-spanning activities.

The proposed research will provide insight into the puzzle of how firms in the European energy sector can transform their business by embracing the disruptive innovations that have led to their financial troubles.

Paradoxically, while sustainable energy innovations in the area of renewables and smart grids have led to the disruption, the only way out for utilities seems through embracing the innovations they have resisted.

As it is a major challenge for electric utilities to redesign their business from the inside, they are increasingly looking across their organizational boundaries for help. This project will thus create insight into how European utilities change their collaborative behaviour to be able to tap into new sources of value creation built on sustainable energy innovations.

The project combines Jonatan Pinkse’s research on climate change and sustainable innovation with Eva Niesten’s work on inter-firm collaborations, transaction cost economics, and the energy sector. For the empirical analysis a unique database will be built that focuses on new collaborations that firms in the European energy sector have undertaken to anticipate sustainable energy innovations.