There is substantial interest in promoting the emergence of a hydrogen-based energy economy. If successful, this would represent a policy-led, discontinuous transition away from existing fossil fuel-based systems. Such a move has few precedents and few policy tools exist to manage such a complex and uncertain endeavour. Furthermore, existing hydrocarbon energy systems can be considered Techno-Institutional Complexes (TIC), which have developed through the path dependent co-evolution of physical technologies and social institutions. These complexes have numerous structures that ensure their perpetuation and create important barriers to the implementation of alternatives like hydrogen-based systems. The authors explore the application of prospective voluntary agreements (PVA) as a policy tool/process that can help facilitate a move towards a hydrogen-based economy through foresight and negotiation. From this perspective, we look at the recent case of the Nordic Hydrogen Energy Foresight project for evidence.
- Carbon lock-in
- Environmental voluntary agreement
- Hydrogen economy
- Increasing returns
- Path dependence