The Role of Energy Willow in Achieving the Fossil Fuel Free Goals of Denmark by 2050

Martin Greiffenberg & Stefan Gjerlufsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis investigates the potential role of Danish Energy Willow in helping to reach the Danish 2050 fossil fuel free energy goals. This idea stemmed from two reports by the Danish Energy Agency, investigating the viability of Energy Willow in Denmark. The thesis used exploratory research to further explore Energy Willow’s current role in the Danish energy system and to figure out its potential in helping to reach the 2050 goals.
Our research question is: What role can Energy Willow play in reaching the Danish 2050 energy goals and is it desirable for society that Energy Willow plays this role?
Our argument is that that Energy Willow would be highly beneficial for Danish society because of the externalities that are produced, but Energy Willow will not be produced because it is not as profitable as other crops. If we, as a society want Energy Willow to be grown, then subsidies are needed.
In our analysis, we take departure from the theoretical framework on entrepreneurship and the role of ideas, which allows the thesis to look in-depth into how the institutions in a given society and the paradigm in which this society operates, govern the entrepreneurship taking place within that society. This influence was applied to the special case of Energy Willow, where it was shown that this influence was strongly evident. The work of William Baumol on institutions directs our understanding of Energy Willow in Denmark because research showed that institutions are crucial for how farming is done. The work of Mark Blyth helps us to show why people, in particular farmers do what they do, and what it takes to change this way of thinking.
We conducted 10 interviews in order to facilitate this exploratory research. These interviews are embedded in the context of Energy Willow from the perspective of the different stakeholders in the Danish Energy Sector. This allows the thesis to be written through the use of a constructivist method, focusing on the perceptions and experiences of the different stakeholders in order to answer the research question.
The key finding from the empirical material is the confirmation of the Baumol theory on entrepreneurship. The government, in the form of the Danish Energy Agency, plays a large role in how the energy sector operates. In addition to this, the empirical material also shows that, due to the current paradigm of rent seeking behavior in Denmark, Energy Willow’s numerous positive externalities cannot be fully compensated despite the large potential of the Willow in helping to reach the Danish 2050 fossil fuel free energy goals. However, it could be possible for Energy Willow to play a much larger role in the Danish energy sector and it would be desirable for Danish society for it do so.

EducationsMSocSc in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages118
SupervisorsValeria Giacomin