The processes through which niches upscale in transitions to sustainability is still not well understood. Existing analyses have proposed notions such as ‘niche-branching’, ‘niche-accumulation’, ‘fit-stretch patterns’ and ‘niche-regime interactions’. These conceptualizations embrace an outsider ontology.i.e. ‘a de-contextualized comparative approach to viewing and evaluating phenomena’ (Garud et al, 2010). However, less emphasis has been paid to an ‘insider ontology’, i.e. perspectives which takes outset in understanding how actors navigate through transitions and experience phenomena in a more culturally and institutionally embedded way, with adequate emphasis on ‘agency’ of (collective) actors. This paper aims to make an ‘insider’ contribution by focusing on one particular but crucial aspect in processes through which niches upscale, i.e. how actors do work in creating supportive institutional environments for niche innovations. In particular, this paper discusses the literature on collective institutional entrepreneurship, and proposes a number of mechanisms that institutional entrepreneurs use to institutionalize niche innovations in two different dimensions (techno-economic i.e. installed capacity, share in electricity production, reduction in cost etc c; socio-technical i.e. new regulations and standards, improvement in grid friendliness, domestication and increased socio-cultural and user acceptance ).Such mechanisms may include developing new calculative devices like business models, risk models, value metrics, technical reports etc; legitimizing new interpretative categories; framing crises in the regime strategically, exploiting political windows; building alliances with other actors through narratives strategies. A comparative case study approach is used to explore these mechanisms in upscaling wind energy in two Indian states (Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu) from 1990 till date. These states differ considerably in how far wind energy niches have developed. The paper ends with a discussion of the conceptual consequences for the multi-level-perspective and for niche-informed management strategies.
|Publication status||Published - 2012|