The importance of learning in supporting energy efficiency technologies

A Case Study on Policy Intervention for Improved Insulation in Germany, the UK and Sweden

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Abstract

To combat climate change, different types of initiatives and policy instruments are required to support the development and dissemination of new energy efficient technologies. What type of policy instruments shall be used is, however, not pre-determined. To advance knowledge in how to design successful policy instruments, evaluations and deep-analyses are needed; this to better understand the role policy instruments have on technical change, changes in the innovation system and essential learning processes. The objective of this study is to analyze the introduction of emergent energy efficiency technologies, focusing on improved insulation in Germany, in the UK and in Sweden. The study has assessed the effect policy instruments have had on different learning processes, such as learning-bysearching, learning-by-doing, learning-by-using and learning-by-interacting. The assessment shows that learning-by-searching has been supported through private funded initiatives and thus being an essential driver for improved technologies. Learning-by-doing has been intense due to the highly concentrated market and resulted in significant production cost reductions. Processes of learning-by-using have mainly got private support, often in a very fragmented way, through intermediaries and thus with a lack of involvement of end-users, which led to limited learning. Today, European initiatives and voluntary schemes are the main facilitators of learning-by-interaction and further technology change.

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