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Consequences of learning curves for energy policy

Teacher Wene Clas-Otto, Hans De Keulenaer, Hans Nilsson


Learning curves show that government deployment programmes do not subsidise technologies but provide required learning investments to make energy efficiency and low-carbon supply technologies competitive in mass markets. The programmes spur investment and market experience for currently expensive technologies and the learning curve shows how these experiences continually reduce cost and improve performance for the deployed technologies. This technology learning pervades all levels of organisations that produce, install and operate technology. This demonstrates that from identical boundary conditions many energy futures can be obtained, demanding the same economic resources but having completely different technological structures and thus very different properties regarding environment, energy security and job creation. Learning curves challenge current dogma on the long-range efficiency of the market and point to the need to realize political choices in deployment programmes.

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