This study provides analytical evidence on the key governance mechanism of the development of wind energy sector in Spanish regionsover the period 1995-2012. It will focus on the extent to which research organizations, government and industry have engaged in a variety of regional pathways of industry emergence and reconversion. It will be shown that pathways of regional specialisation stem from the coordination of a wide mix of policy instruments and governance mechanisms.
To this end, we elaborate a qualitative comparison of patterns of relations between different actors and related performance to identify how different regional contexts respond to a favourable institutional framework to spur the emergence of new industries. The heuristic comparison proposed here focuses on two mechanisms, namely: the recombination of existing regional knowledge inherited from past industry and the creation of new knowledge. Such an exercise illustrates aspects of agency, related variety and specialization on the diversity of routes that have been used to promote specialization within the sector value chain.
Spain is a relevant case in point considering that in a relatively short span it has become a world leader both in terms of both energy and specialized technology production. We argue that this trajectory would not look so triumphal had it not been for the pivotal role of regional actors such as utilities, technology manufactures, research centres and local government in facilitating the creation and mobilization of specific know-how. Accordingly, we identify the multilevel interactions between public and private sectors that unleashed the latent potential of this emerging sector. More than this, we contrast the cases of four archetypal regions (Castilla y Leon, Galicia; Navarra and Basque country) to disentangle commonalities and specificities of the governance mechanism that enable regions to achieve significant market deployment and sectoral specialization through different regional learning processes.