Open Access Article

Title: Learning from global suppliers: the diffusion of small wind in low- and middle-income countries

Authors: Faith H. Wandera; Margrethe Holm Andersen; Rasmus Lema

Addresses: Ministry of Energy, P.O. Box 30582-00100, Nairobi, Kenya ' Department of Politics and Society, Aalborg University, Frederikskaj 10B, 2450 Copenhagen SV, Denmark ' Department of Business and Management, Aalborg University, Fibigerstræde 2, P.O. Box 159-9100, Denmark

Abstract: An increasing number of low and middle-income countries seek to boost electrification with renewable energy. Yet, most renewable energy equipment and services are imported from global technologies suppliers located in high-income countries. This article aims to learn from global suppliers of small wind turbines: what can we learn about capabilities, opportunities and barriers for diffusion of small wind? What insights can we derive about organisational learning and policy learning to enhance diffusion? Our survey of global producers shows that at firm-level capabilities such as preparation of feasibility reports and selection of project sites are major weakness in developing countries. Limited knowledge of technologies and skilled manpower are also key constraints. While there are opportunities for learning from global suppliers during project planning and installation, low absorptive capacity constrains the further diffusion of knowledge locally.

Keywords: capabilities; low- and middle-income countries; diffusion; global suppliers; global value chains; learning from importing; renewable energy; small wind turbines; user-producer interaction.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTLID.2021.114918

International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2021 Vol.13 No.1, pp.24 - 49

Received: 22 Nov 2020
Accepted: 02 Dec 2020

Published online: 11 May 2021 *