Low-carbon reorientation in the declining steel industry
MIOIR researchers Professor Frank Geels and Dr Julian Gregory conducted a longitudinal analysis of the corporate strategy and co-development landscape in the UK steel industry. Although the available literature provides important analyzes of the economic and technical aspects of decarbonization pathways, it pays little attention to the real-world implementation processes of industries. large energy-intensive industries (LEII), such as steelmaking, who will actually have to make investment decisions about the implementation of low-carbon technologies.
This is especially relevant, as similar industries are facing the challenge economic conditions because they operate in a global industry where the emergence of new companies has significantly increased competitive pressure on established UK players, resulting in reduced output and losses. loss is increasing. This represents a gap in the decarbonization analysis that should be appreciated.
For the UK steel industry, therefore, we assessed the rate and direction of the low-carbon transition by applying a longitudinal analysis of change external pressure and the company’s response strategies over the past 34 years. Apply Triple Embeddedness Framework and five-stage In the reorientation model, our study shows that the low-carbon reorientation strategies of the steel industry have shifted from inaction (stage 1 in our model) and incremental change ( phase 2) during 1988–1997, to hedging and exploring technical alternatives (phase 3) in 1997–2007, back to incremental change in 2007– 2015 (phase 2), and then transition to hedging and exploration of technical alternatives (phase 3) during 2015–2022.
The reason for this oscillator pattern is economic downturn and subsequent reduction strategies have reduced management’s attention and organizational resources to a low-carbon orientation, especially after 2007/8. financial crisis lead to a focus on survival. In recent years, UK steelmakers have begun to explore three decarbonization routes (carbon capture and storage, electric arc furnaces using scrap materials and electric arc furnaces using scrap materials). direct hydrogen reduction feedstock) but has not yet committed to implementation. why the directional speed is limited.
New economic headwinds in 2021/2 threaten the implementation of low-carbon visions and roadmaps, prompting steelmakers to ask for more government support. Future transitions to phase 4 (deployment and diversification) and phase 5 (complete reorientation) of our conceptual model will depend on the outcome of political negotiations is currently taking place.
Frank W. Geels et al, Reorienting low carbon in a declining industry? A longitudinal analysis of the corporate strategy and co-development landscape in the UK steel industry (1988–2022), Energy Research & Social Sciences (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2023.102953
University of Manchester
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