Lock-in and change: Distributed generation in Denmark in a long-term perspective

Erik van der Vleuten, Rob Raven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


There is a renewed attention for distributed generation (DG) in European electricity sectors, but implementing DG is often problematic. This article studies the current relative success of DG in Denmark. We take into account not only recent drivers of change such as energy policy and green activism, but also long-term stability and change in the electricity supply sector. In particular we analyse the lock-in on centralized electricity supply, that still frustrates DG development elsewhere. We discuss three successive national electricity regimes, analysing regime lock-in and change in terms of technologies, actors, institutions and the position of DG. Our analysis shows that Danish energy policy as well as innovative activity by key actors indeed were crucial to the recent DG revival in Denmark. On the other hand, our long-term perspective shows that Danish energy policy and actor strategies were tuned to specifically Danish opportunities and barriers created during earlier regimes. These include experience with wind turbines and CHP as well as urban municipal and rural cooperative involvement. Copying the Danish energy policy model to other countries, regardless of national specific opportunities and barriers, will therefore not guarantee a similar outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3739-3748
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Policy
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • CHP
  • Denmark
  • Distributed generation
  • Lock-in
  • Regime shift
  • Wind turbines

Cite this