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Kirchherr, Julian and Urban, Frauke (2018) 'Technology transfer and cooperation for low carbon energy technology: Analysing 30 years of scholarship and proposing a research agenda.' Energy Policy, 119. pp. 600-609.

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While North-South technology transfer and cooperation (NSTT) for low carbon energy technology has been implemented for decades, South-South technology transfer and cooperation (SSTT) and South-North technology transfer and cooperation (SNTT) have only recently emerged. Consequently, the body of literature on NSTT is mature, while the body on SSTT and SNTT is still in its infancy. This paper provides a meta-synthesis of the scholarly writings on NSTT, SSTT and SNTT from the past 30 years. We specifically discuss core drivers and inhibitors of technology transfer and cooperation, outcomes as well as outcome determinants. We find policies and practices for low carbon development to be the main driver, both pushed by governments and international aid programs, as well as by firms that are interested in expanding overseas. Inhibitors include a non-existent market in the host countries and the abundance of cheap fossil fuel resources that price out renewables. The literature is divided on whether intellectual property rights are inhibitors or drivers of technology transfer to the Global South. Outcomes of technology transfer and cooperation are mixed with approximately one-third of instances reported as successful technology transfer and another one-third reported as failures. Core key success factors were identified as suitable government policies as well as adequate capacities in the recipient country. This analysis is then followed by an introduction of the papers of the special issue 'South-South Technology Transfer and Cooperation for Low Carbon Energy Technologies’. Finally, a research agenda for future work on NSTT, SSTT and SNTT is proposed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Technology transferSolar PVWindHydropowerDamsLow carbon developmentSustainability transitions
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Interdisciplinary Studies > Centre for Development, Environment and Policy
ISSN: 03014215
Copyright Statement: © 2018 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2018 13:05

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