Learning from Global Suppliers: The Diffusion of Small Wind in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

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An increasing number of low and middle-income countries seek to boost electrification with renewable energy. However, in many of these countries the opportunities for domestic provision of renewable energy technology is constrained by limited manufacturing capacity. As a result, a high share of renewable energy equipment and services is imported from global technologies suppliers located mainly in high-income countries. This article aims at learning from global suppliers of small wind turbines with particular focus on two questions: What can we learn from them about capabilities, opportunities and barriers for diffusion of small wind? What insights can we derive about organisational learning and policy learning to enhance diffusion? A survey of 47 global producers of small wind technology reveal the following findings: At firm level, technical capabilities, including preparation of feasibility reports and site selection are assessed to be the main weakness in developing countries. At country level, limited knowledge of small wind and limited availability of financial support and skilled manpower are the key constraints to the diffusion of small wind. There are options for learning from global suppliers mainly through learning by doing in project planning and installation, but low absorptive capacity inhibits the further diffusion of knowledge locally.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)24-49
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Capabilities
  • Diffusion
  • Global suppliers
  • Global value chains
  • Learning from importing
  • Low- and middle-income countries
  • Renewable energy
  • Small wind turbines
  • User-producer interaction


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