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Energy-Efficiency Investments and Public Policy

Adam B. Jaffe and Robert N. Stavins

Year: 1994
Volume: Volume15
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol15-No2-3
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Abstract:
Concern about carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas has focused renewed attention on energy conservation because fossil fuel combustion is a major source of CO2 emissions. Since it is generally acknowledged that energy use could be significantly reduced through broader adoption of existing technologies, policy makers need to know how effective various policy instruments might be in accelerating the diffusion of these technologies. We examine the factors that determine the rate of diffusion, focusing on (i) potential market failures: information problems, principal-agent slippage, and unobserved costs, and (ii) explanations that do not represent market failures: private information costs, high discount rates, and heterogeneity among potential adopters. Through a series of simulations we explore how alternative policy instruments--both economic incentives and more conventional, direct regulations-could hasten the diffusion of energy-conserving technologies.



Electricity Sectors in Transition

Paul L. Joskow

Year: 1998
Volume: Volume19
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol19-No2-3
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Abstract:
This paper discusses the structural and regulatory changes that are affecting electricity sectors around the world. The direction of change is toward promoting competition in the supply of generation services, restructuring of electricity supply enterprises to clearly separate the provision of competitive generation services from monopoly transmission and distribution services, and the application of new regulations governing access to the transmission and distribution networks and the associated costs of the services provided by these networks. The potential impacts of these changes on electricity costs and prices, economic development, the distribution of income, the choice of generating technologies, research and development and the environment are discussed. Differences in the current performance and the likely future impacts of electricity sector restructuring on developing and developed countries are discussed.



A Thousand Years of Energy Use in the United Kingdom

Roger Fouquet and Peter J. G. Pearson

Year: 1998
Volume: Volume19
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol19-No4-1
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Abstract:
This paper examines the evolution of energy use and its influences in the United Kingdom over the very long run by combining economic literature and statistical information. The paper argues that the provision of energy services, mainly heat and power, is bound by the tensions between a changing growth rate and structure of economic activity and the constraints of energetic resources. After periods of tension, energy price differentials, as well as the diffusion of technological innovation and the development of new fuels, led to new mixes of energy sources to supply heat and power. This paper identifies three major changes that characterise the history of UK energy use: first, the dramatic increase in per capita energy use; second, the shift in methods of supplying energy services, from biomass sources to fossil fuels, from coal to petroleum to natural gas, and from raw forms to more value-added energy sources; and, third, the replacing of direct methods of generating power, from animate sources, wind and water, by the use of mechanical and electrical methods, which have so far depended mainly on fossil fuels. These changes were instrumental in influencing the relationship between GDP and energy use, and also the levels of environmentalpollution.



The Economics of Energy Market Transformation Programs

Richard Duke and Daniel M. Kammen

Year: 1999
Volume: Volume20
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol20-No4-2
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Abstract:
This paper evaluates three energy-sector market transformation programs: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Lights program to promote on-grid efficient lighting; the World Bank Group's new Photovoltaic Market Transformation Initiative; and the federal grain ethanol subsidy. We develop a benefit-cost model that uses experience curves to estimate unit cost reductions as a function of cumulative production. Accounting for dynamic feedback between the demand response and price reductions from production experience raises the benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of the first two programs substantially. The BCR of the ethanol program, however, is approximately zero, illustrating a technology for which subsidization was not justified. Our results support a broader role for market transformation programs to commercialize new environmentally attractive technologies, but the ethanol experience suggests moderately funding a broad portfolio composed of technologies that meet strict selection criteria.



Market and Non-market Policies for Renewable Energy Diffusion: A Unifying Framework and Empirical Evidence from China’s Wind Power Sector

Yang Liu and Taoyuan Wei

Year: 2016
Volume: Volume 37
Number: China Special Issue
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.37.SI1.lyan
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Abstract:
We provide a comprehensive framework of analyzing the diffusion process of renewable technology, incorporating epidemic and pecuniary effects. Relying on a panel dataset consisting of information from 1207 CDM wind projects in thirty provinces over the period 2004-2011, we find strong evidence on the dominant role of the epidemic effect and new evidence on pecuniary effects that generate a diminishing marginal effect of profitability in inducing technology adoption. Our numerical simulation demonstrates that the epidemic effect can play a quantitatively important role in the spread of renewable energy technology and markedly enhance the optimal social welfare. Our findings convey important policy implications for regulators when choosing policy instruments to enhance the diffusion and adoption of clean technology. Price instruments should be complemented by a wide range of non-market instruments to address non-market barriers. Policy interventions should be taken using a systemic approach.





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