chapter  7
19 Pages

How responsible was innovation in subsequent wind power episodes?

WithJ. Roland Ortt, Linda M. Kamp, Rolf Künneke

This chapter explores how responsible the innovation process was, in hindsight, in subsequent episodes of wind power development. The episodes are the American farm windmill in 1850–1880 in the USA, the direct current (DC) electricity wind turbine in 1890–1910 in Denmark, and the alternating current (AC) electricity wind turbine in 1940–1990 in the USA. The episodes turn out to be heterogeneous in two aspects: (1) they show different levels of complexity in terms of the number of stakeholders; (2) they vary significantly in terms of responsibility of the innovation process. We conclude that the Danish innovation episode is the most responsible, and the later USA episode is the least responsible. It appears more difficult to innovate responsibly when there is a high level of complexity. However, the Danish episode reveals that responsible innovation processes are also possible in a rather complex case involving many stakeholders. Furthermore, the chapter shows that responsible innovation is not just important prior to the market introduction but remains important throughout the technology life cycle.