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 21: Lessons on Technological Learning for Policy Makers and Industry

André Faaij, Martin Junginger and Wilfried van Sark

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


André Faaij, Martin Junginger and Wilfried van Sark 21.1 INTRODUCTION TO THE RELEVANCE OF LEARNING FOR POLICY AND INDUSTRY The importance of progress in technological development of energy technologies is evident. Tackling growing global energy demand and at the same meeting greenhouse gas emission targets (down to 20 per cent of current levels) as well as meeting other environmental criteria at an affordable cost can only be achieved when a large number of technologies to supply renewable energy and save energy become commercially available. Development and commercialization of such technologies is at the core of most energy and climate policies worldwide. As a consequence, many (national) policies support R&D and provide, compared to R&D, the usually much more costly incentives for market deployment of targeted energy technologies. However, timing of incentives, the specific design of policy measures and the amount of support that may be effective for success are very hard to determine. For the energy sector and manufacturing industry, strategic planning of the R&D portfolio, first mover initiatives in specific markets and identifying key market niches (with or without policy support) is an equally great challenge. Taken together, this situation makes an improved understanding of technological learning extremely important. At present, most strategies and policies are only to a limited extent based on a rational and detailed understanding of learning mechanisms and technology development pathways. What conditions provide efficient development routes is not well understood to date and is subject to much research in, for example,...

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