Macquarie University
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Synthesising multi-level perspective and multi-criteria analysis: comparing energy systems transition in Australia and Germany : a dissertation

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posted on 2022-03-28, 15:52 authored by Grace Cheung
This thesis investigates the contemporary energy transitions and greenhouse gas reduction strategies of Australia and Germany. The thesis provides a comparative study to gain insights into the drivers of change within and between these two developed nations and contributes new perspectives which could support other countries decarbonising their economies to address the wicked problem of climate change. The thesis applied a multi-disciplinary (social, economic and political) and multi-dimensional (policies, actors, technology and comparative) approach. Research strategies were based on mixed-methods, Grounded Theory, longitudinal nested case-study strategies and the development of a multi-criteria analysis model. A combined multi-level perspective (MLP) and multi-criteria analysis tool was developed for the comparative analysis to explore the socio-technical transition processes in Australia and Germany. This applied mainstream Transition Theory and multi-level perspective concepts of the landscape, regime and niche as actors enacting through interwoven forces that shape transition outcomes in these two countries. The focus of the analysis covers the tenure of four Australian Prime Ministers and their governments between 1996 and 2017 and three German Chancellors and their governments between 1990 and 2017. Through a nested case study of each leader's term, a comparative analysis of assessment results uncovered four new perspectives. First, static landscape including fossil-energy endowment and economic structures, such as resources-based vs industry-based economy, of a country are foremost drivers of national energy decision-making. Second, these static landscape aspects can explain the motivation for delayed decarbonisation in Australia when compared to early action in Germany and therein the willingness to invest in new and decarbonised energy systems. Third, consistent economic growth is not a precursor to energy-transition achievement. Fourth, as renewable energy approaches grid parity with traditional and incumbent energy generation, economic investment will expedite socio-technical energy transitions beyond the more cumbersome political policy frameworks.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Energy transition challenges, theories and analytical frameworks - literature review -- Chapter 3. Methodology -- Chapter 4. In the transformation of energy systems, what is holding Australia back? -- Chapter 5. In the transformation of energy systems, what lesson can be learnt from the German achievement? -- Chapter 6. From a multi-level perspective, what is underlying the contrasting performance of energy transition in Australia and Germany? -- Chapter 7. Synthesis and conclusions -- Chapter 8. Conclusion -- References.


"A dissertation presented by Grace Cheung to Faculty of Science and Engineering of Macquarie University and Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences of Universita╠łt Hamburg In fulfillment of the requirements for the joint degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Doktor der Wirtschaftswissenschaften) specializing in Energy Transition (Energiewende)" -- title page. Bibliography: pages 286-321 Empirical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Environmental Sciences

Department, Centre or School

Department of Environmental Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Peter Davies

Additional Supervisor 1

Alexander Bassen


Copyright Grace Cheung 2018. Copyright disclaimer:




Australia Germany (West)


1 online resource (xv, 321 pages) graphs, tables

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