Technological Learning in the Energy Sector

Technological Learning in the Energy Sector

Lessons for Policy, Industry and Science

Edited by Martin Junginger, Wilfried van Sark and André Faaij

Technological learning is a key driver behind the improvement of energy technologies and subsequent reduction of production costs. Understanding how and why production costs for energy technologies decline, and whether they will continue to do so in the future, is of crucial importance for policy makers, industrial stakeholders and scientists alike. This timely and informative book therefore provides a comprehensive review of technological development and cost reductions for renewable energy, clean fossil fuel and energy-efficient demand-side technologies.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Martin Junginger, Wilfried van Sark and André Faaij

Subjects: economics and finance, energy economics, environment, energy policy and regulation, innovation and technology, technology and ict


Martin Junginger, Wilfried van Sark and André Faaij 1.1 BACKGROUND RATIONALE It is evident that the technological development of energy technologies is crucial to limit growing global energy demand, reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) and achieve other environmental targets, preferably at low costs. These aims can only be achieved when a large number of technologies to supply renewable energy and to save energy become commercially available, and thus are at the core of most energy and climate policies worldwide. Important scenario analyses of the world’s future energy system and climate change mitigation scenarios illustrate that technological progress is key to minimizing costs of such development pathways. Furthermore, the speed of development is essential in order to meet required reductions and supply contributions on time. For example, in their World Energy Outlook (IEA, 2009) the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts significantly higher fossil fuel energy prices for 2030 if penetration of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies is limited, compared to a situation in which their development and deployment is pursued with more vigour. Furthermore, many scenarios highlight the positive economic and security impacts of strong support for research, development, demonstration and deployment (RDD&D) of such technologies. Lastly, developing and deploying such energy technologies is seen as a major opportunity for development, (sustainable) industrial activity and (high quality) employment. Many (national) policies support both research and development (R&D) and market deployment of promising new energy technologies. The latter, in particular, can require substantial investment. However, designing such...