Transitions in unlikely places: Exploring the conditions for renewable energy adoption in Nigeria

Olufolahan Osunmuyiwa*, Agni Kalfagianni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


This paper examines conditions and pathways that explain variation in the adoption of renewable energy (RE) in Nigeria's 36 states based on a fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis. Using three analytical lenses proposed by the multi-level socio-technical theory (niches, regimes, and landscapes), we examine RE adoption in these states. While all three lenses explain variation to some extent, a combination of regime and landscape characteristics, enables states to overcome dependence on oil while triggering the adoption of RE. States with high income and a regime featuring institutions and coalitions supporting transitions establish themselves as pioneers. States with medium/low income and a regime characterised by a weak pro-RE political coalition support emerge as laggards. Hence we conclude that the role of the regime and particularly political actors therein, is central in energy transition processes among Nigerian states. This has implications for future transition attempts in Nigeria and developing (rentier) countries, generally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-40
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Early online date27 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Fuzzy set
  • Multi-level socio-technical theory
  • Nigeria
  • Renewable energy
  • Transitions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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