Collaborative efforts on energy transition in urban China: Institutional enabling and constraining conditions

Jing Wu*, Christian Zuidema, Gert de Roo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Concern about carbon has led to China's energy transition and dedication to large-scale renewable energy projects. Handling energy transition problems and implementing energy policies require integrated and collaborative strategies involving an array of stakeholders. Pursuing a successful collaboration among stakeholders is indeed complicated, particularly within China's strong top-down, regulatory policy framework. This article seeks to understand how current institutional rules and routines affect local energy practices, and identifies key institutional barriers and opportunities for collaborative governance in local energy practices. This article opts for an expansion of the IAD framework. In doing so, it targets the informal patterns of interaction to conduct our institutional analysis through a case study of a decentralised photovoltaic (PV) power generation project in Guangzhou, southern China. A total of 16 semi-structured interviews together with an in-depth analysis of policy documents were conducted. This article identifies several key problems in Guangzhou related to the structure of Chinese energy governance that are also likely to occur in other Chinese cities. Notably this study discovered important power imbalances between stakeholders, and found that the grid operators hold the monopoly position in the development of the decentralised PV projects. The issue of power imbalances has triggered a chain of problems within the decentralised PV project, including financial difficulties, information opacity, and ineffective supervision. As such, these problems are major barriers to situation-specific policies that build on integrated strategies and collaborative approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112873
Number of pages15
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2022


  • Energy transition
  • IAD framework
  • Institutional analysis
  • Stakeholder collaboration
  • Urban China

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