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Ratio Working Paper No. 347: A review of problems associated with learning curves for solar and wind power technologies

PublikationWorking paper
energy technology, learning curve, learning rate, solar power, Wind power
Ratio Working Paper No. 347
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Sammanfattning

The learning curve concept, which relates historically observed reductions in the cost of a technology to the number of units produced or the capacity cumulatively installed, has been widely adopted to analyse the technological progress of renewable resources, such as solar PV and wind power, and to predict their future penetration. Learning curves were originally an empirical tool to evaluate learning-by-doing in manufacturing, and the jump to analysis of country-level technological change in renewable energy is an extension that requires careful consideration. This paper provides a review of the problems associated with learning curves for solar and wind power technologies. Issues such as whether the past cost reductions affect the future, learning curve specification problems, changing price ratios and econometric issues are discussed. Learning curves have a place in research, but there are several pitfalls that researchers should be careful not to overlook.

Grafström, J. & Poudineh, R. (2021). A review of problems associated with learning curves for solar and wind power technologies. Ratio Working Paper No. 347. Stockholm: Ratio.


Liknande innehåll

Ratio Working Paper No. 336 An Austrian economic perspective on failed Chinese wind power development
Working paperPublikation
Grafström, J.
Publiceringsår

2020

Publicerat i

Ratio Working Paper

Sammanfattning

China is currently hailed as the world’s premier wind power producer. However, despite twice the installed wind power capacity compared to the United States in 2015, the Chinese installed capacity produces less power. Grid connectivity is remarkably low, Chinese firms have few international granted patents, and export is minimal even though production capacity far exceeds the domestic production needs. Using the tools of Austrian economics, failures in China’s wind power development from 1980-2016 is documented and analysed. From a theoretical standpoint, both a planning problem and an entrepreneurial problem is evident where governmental policies create misallocation of resources and a hampering of technological development.

Wind Power and Job Creation
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
Aldieri, L., Grafström, J., Sundström, K. & Vinci, C.P.
Publiceringsår

2020

Publicerat i
Sammanfattning

The purpose of this paper is to provide a global overview of job effects per MW of wind power installations, which will enable improved decision-making and modeling of future wind-power projects. We found indications that job creation connected to wind-power installations is rather limited. In total, 17 peer-reviewed articles and 10 reports/non-peer-reviewed papers between 2001 and 2019 were assessed. Our three major policy conclusions are as follows: (a) job creation seems to be limited; (b) each new project should consider a unique assessment, since all projects have been undertaken within different institutional frameworks, labor markets, and during separate years, meaning that the technology is not comparable; and (c) the number of jobs depends on the labor intensity of the country.

Ratio Working Paper No. 320: Public policy failures related to China’s Wind Power Development
Working paperPublikation
Grafström, J.
Publiceringsår

2019

Publicerat i

Ratio Working Paper

Sammanfattning

An anecdote about the failure of the Soviet economic system tells about a factory which were evaluated based on tons of nails produced – unsurprisingly the nails became heavy. China is currently hailed as the worlds primer wind power producer; however, a closer examination reveals a string of policy failure making the Chinese wind power development resemble the infamous Soviet nail example. From a technological transition perspective, policy failures in China’s wind power program from 1980-2016 is documented and analysed. Five overarching topics are analysed including: Conflicting policies, quality problems, underwhelming technological development, lacking technological standards and insufficient grid transmission system. One conclusion is that when the Chinese government set a command and control target of how much new installed capacity that was going to be constructed the state utilities delivered to target but with an abundance of power plants without grid connectivity, severe quality problems and low technological development.

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