China's experimental pragmatics of "Scientific development" in wind power: Algorithmic struggles over software in wind turbines

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Abstract

This article presents a case study on the development of China's wind power market. As China's wind industry has experienced a quality crisis, the Chinese government has intervened to steer the industry towards a turn to quality, indicating a pragmatist and experimental mode of market development. This increased focus on quality, to ensure the sustainable and scientific development of China's wind energy market, requires improved indigenous Chinese innovation capabilities in wind turbine technology. To shed light on how the turn to quality impacts upon the industry and global competition, this study adopts the micro-processual, socio-technical, relational and empiricist lens of Science & Technology Studies (STS). It illustrates how Sino-foreign collaborative relations around the core technology of software (in control systems and simulation tools) have become politicised, and how controversies unfold over issues associated with intellectual property rights (IPRs), certification and standardisation of software algorithms. The article concludes that the use of this STS lens makes a fresh contribution to the often path-dependent, structuralist and hierarchical China literature, offering instead a possibility- and agency-filled account that can shed light on the dynamics of China's fragmented governance and experimental market development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCopenhagen Journal of Asian Studies
Volume34
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)5-24
Number of pages20
ISSN1395-4199
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Experimentation
  • Software algorithms
  • Wind power
  • Turn to quality
  • Science & Technology Studies

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