Keywords: sustainability transitions, innovation systems, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, UAE, innovation dynamics, solar energy, solar power, sustainable development, oil–rich countries, policy recommendations
Innovation dynamics of sustainability journeys for hydrocarbon–rich countries
This paper examines the innovation dynamics of sustainability transitions within hydrocarbon–rich countries, with a particular emphasis upon the emerging solar industries in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In order to examine the dynamics within the current Saudi and UAE energy system and subsequently assess its potential for supporting the successful establishment of sizeable solar energy industries, a list of five structural elements and seven system functions has first been compiled from the innovation literature. Next, a comparative assessment is conducted with regard to how well each of these elements and functions is currently fulfilled in both industries. Not only does the paper reveal a number of ominous signs of structural and functional related challenges, it also provides policy orientated recommendations that have the potential to support a transition towards a sustainable future within such oil–rich countries.