The co-evolution of innovation systems and context: Offshore wind in Norway and the Netherlands

Adriaan van der Loos, Håkon E. Normann, Jens Hanson, Marko P. Hekkert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper investigates the co-evolution of industry formation, innovation systems and context over time through an analysis of offshore wind in the Netherlands and Norway. We compare these two countries because of their historically weak domestic offshore wind markets, long legacies in the oil and gas (O&G) and maritime industries and active participation in the growing offshore wind market. Our analysis is informed by the technological innovation systems framework and context conditions and we derive our results from nearly 60 interviews with key stakeholders in both countries. Our results point to three main empirical findings: 1) The Netherlands focused much more on explicit innovation system building strategies than Norway; 2) O&G is a critical sectoral and political context condition with a profound impact on offshore wind in both countries: in Norway, O&G price shocks led to fluctuating offshore wind participation; in the Netherlands, offshore O&G has been on a decline since the early 2000s, leading to a constant pressure to diversify. 3) The Netherlands had closer industrial proximity alignment than Norway, leading to stronger innovation system emergence and industrial participation. We highlight three theoretical contributions: 1) Certain context conditions – in our case O&G sectoral and political contexts – play a stronger role than others in influencing TIS emergence; 2) Context conditions strongly overlap. The political and sectoral O&G context is intimately linked; 3) Contexts are not static. As context conditions evolve overtime, so do their effects on the innovation system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110513
Number of pages12
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Industry formation
  • Norway and the Netherlands
  • Offshore wind
  • Oil and gas diversification
  • TIS-in-context
  • Technological innovation systems
  • Technological proximity


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