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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.


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Ratio Working Paper No. 351: Knowledge Spillovers in the Solar energy sector
Working paperPublikation
Grafström, J.
Publiceringsår

2021

Publicerat i

Ratio.

Sammanfattning

The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of the existence and possible direction of international knowledge spillovers in the solar energy sector. Specifically, the paper investigates how the accumulation of solar energy patents and public R&D spending affected the output of domestic granted solar energy patents. The econometric analysis relies on a data set consisting of most of the OECD countries plus China and analyzes two time periods; from 1990 to 2014 and the years 2000 to 2014. To analyze the data material, a Poisson fixed-effects estimator based on the Hausman, Hall and Griliches (1984) method was used. The empirical findings suggest that the domestic accumulation of patents and R&D is important for the potential development of new ones. Indeed, early investment in specific technology can be an indicator of future leadership in that field.

An Anatomy of Failure – Wind Power Development in China
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
Grafström, J.
Publiceringsår

2021

Sammanfattning

China is currently the world’s largest installer of wind power. However, with twice the installed wind capacity compared to the United States in 2015, the Chinese produce less power. The question is: Why is this the case? This article shows that Chinese grid connectivity is low, Chinese firms have few international patents, and that export is low even though production capacity far exceeds domestic production needs. Using the tools of Austrian economics, China’s wind power development from 1980 to 2016 is documented and analyzed from three angles: (a) planning and knowledge problems, (b) unproductive entrepreneurship, and (c) bureaucracy and government policy. From a theoretical standpoint, both a planning problem and an entrepreneurial problem are evident where governmental policies create misallocation of resources and a hampering of technological development.

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.

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