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Backcasting performance of the emerging renewable energy sector in China: A strategic optimization approach for policy making

Artie Ng (School of Professional Education and Executive Development, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

Journal of Technology Management in China

ISSN: 1746-8779

Article publication date: 13 February 2009



This paper aims to explore the use of backcasting approach in dealing with the indeterminate future performance of the emerging renewable energy sector, based on the case of China. Through backcasting analysis of the emerging sector under uncertainties and concerns of the stakeholders, it acknowledges a range of hurdles ingrained in the current energy system and issues related to technology management within the Chinese context.


This is a conceptual paper with integration of relevant contemporary knowledge.


This study points out the challenges in plausible developments for the renewable energy sector harnessing such approach. Particularly, the pursuit of end‐points under a multitude of optima can be associated with goal‐seeking embedded in backcasting for sustainable developments, whereas economic and technological constraints inherent to the processes of technological innovation in the cultural environment are recognized. Formulating an integrative framework, this study suggests the relevance of the approach of backcasting to augment dynamic policy analysis and planning for plausible developments in time, and to consequently optimize resource allocation in the renewal of necessary technological infrastructure.


This paper structurally reveals critical issues in the development of an emerging technology sector of growing importance and the pertinent implications to policy making in China for sustainable development given the underlying quantitative and qualitative constraints.



Ng, A. (2009), "Backcasting performance of the emerging renewable energy sector in China: A strategic optimization approach for policy making", Journal of Technology Management in China, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 53-66.



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