We develop a new way of analysing the state’s strategic role in the clean energy shift. We do so by synthesizing Schumpeterian understandings of ‘creative destruction’ and techno-economic change with cutting-edge developmental state theorizing centred on ‘developmental environmentalism’. Our approach allows us to explain South Korea’s mixed results in the clean energy shift over the 2008–2020 period by focussing on varying degrees of alignment between the state’s ‘creative’ and ‘destructive’ ambitions and capabilities. Following a period of misalignment characterized by a creative emphasis (2008–2015), we have seen growing alignment between the state’s ‘creative’ and ‘destructive’ endeavours (2015–present). On the basis of our analysis, we anticipate that Korea’s hitherto mixed results are likely to give way to more consistent strides towards greening the national economy. Beyond Korea, our fresh analytical approach may be applied to other national contexts, helping to advance broader debates about the state’s strategic role in the clean energy shift.
- South Korea
- clean energy shift
- creative destruction
- developmental environmentalism
- fuel-cell electric vehicles