System building in the Kenyan electrification regime: The case of private solar mini-grid development

Given the growing interest in the ability of the private sector to contribute to the goal of providing universal access to energy in developing countries, this study sets out to investigate the practices and business approaches of private actors in the emerging niche of private mini-grid development in Kenya. The paper’s analytical focus is on how niche actors are influencing and creating change in the incumbent electrification regime of grid extension to strengthen and expand the niche for private mini-grids. The analysis shows that, in addition to internal niche processes like the alignment of expectations, learning and network building, niche actors actively engage in various forms of institutional work. The greatest emphasis here is on regulatory institutional work in order to influence legal and economic frameworks, but niche actors also engage in cognitive institutional work to enhance acceptance of the niche technology by constructing a shared world view between niche and regime actors. Interestingly, niche actors also engage in normative work to establish positive normative associations with the private-sector model, like equity and social justice. The research concludes that in this case institutional work is collective work drawing on different mandates and relying on different skills and resources.

Authors:Ivan Nygaard, Mathilde Brix Pedersen
Published year:2018
Content type:Journal article
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Orbit ID:bac8f3ee-ddd8-41a0-a74f-9216293611df
Is current:Current