Enciclopédia da Energia Natural   CPMA.COMUNIDADES.NET
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Enciclopédia da Energia Natural CPMA.COMUNIDADES.NET

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62 Climate Change and Policy | International Climate Treaties and Coalition Building
Diffusion of Energy-Efficient Technologies
Energy-Efficiency Gap
Impacts of Innovation: Lessons from the Empirical Evidence
Modeling Technological Change in Economic Models of Climate Change
Policy Incentives for Energy and Environmental Technological Innovation: Lessons from the Empirical Evidence
Technological Change and Climate Change Policy
Technological Change and the Marginal Cost of Abatement
Technological Lock-In
Technology and Environmental Policy
Diffusion of Energy-Efficient Technologies
T Fleiter and P Plo¨tz, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, Karlsruhe, Germany
ã 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Barriers to diffusion Mechanisms that inhibit adoption of a
technology that appears to be both energy-efficient and
economically efficient.
Diffusion The gradual adoption of an innovation by
individuals, firms, or other organizations over time.
Economies of scale A reduction of per-unit costs of an
industrial good when the scale of production of the good
Energy efficiency The ratio between energy input and an
output of performance, service, goods, or energy.
Energy-efficient technology A technology that delivers an
energy service or good with less energy input compared to a
reference technology.
Learning by doing Improvement of a process or product
resulting from the manufacturing process.
Learning by using Improvements of a process or product
resulting from the use of the technology or product by end
Network effects An increase in the utility of a product to a
user when the number of users of the same product
Technology lock-in A situation in which a switch to a new
technology (paradigm) that would be potentially superior in
the long term is precluded, because the new technology is
inferior in the short term. Technology lock-in arises when at
least two technologies experience increasing returns to
Why has it taken 30 years from market introduction for compact
fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to reach saturation levels, at least in some
countries, despite their clear economic and environmental benefits?
Questions such as this form the focal point of this article
and are addressed by studying the diffusion of energy-efficient
technologies (EETs).
Saving energy and improving energy efficiency are key strateg-
ies in the development of a more sustainable global energy
system. Increased efficiency is seen as a major option for lower-
ing greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector, as it reduces
the demand for fossil fuels. It also has the potential to
significantly reduce the dependency on energy imports, address
the scarcity of energy resources, and finally, contribute to im-
proving the competitiveness and productivity of firms. Given
these benefits, energy efficiency is at the top of the policy agenda
of numerous governments worldwide and is also receiving a lot
of attention from researchers and analysts. The International
Energy Agency, for example, predicts that global greenhouse
gas emissions could be significantly reduced simply by using
the currently best available technology and that additional po-
tential reductions are available because of new, emerging
Thus, the spread or diffusion of EETs through society is a
highly relevant research field. Even the most revolutionary
Encyclopedia of Energy, Natural Resource and Environmental Economics http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-375067-9.00059-0 63
innovations will have no effect on energy demand if they do
not find users. It is also a very complex field, as numerous and
often interrelated factors affect the diffusion of EETs. For policy
makers, however, it is crucial to understand the determinants
of diffusion in order to effectively steer or accelerate it where it
is too slow from a social-optimum perspective. Thus, the study
of the diffusion of EETs analyzes its determinants and aims to
derive patterns that may help to predict the diffusion of new
EETs ex ante and provide useful suggestions for policy design.
This article gives a short overview of the diffusion of EETs
and its determinants. We begin by summarizing the theory
behind the diffusion of innovations and then discuss the spe-
cific features relating to EET diffusion. In the section
\u2018Determinants of the Adoption of EET,\u2019 we focus on the adop-
tion decision and present empirical findings on EET adoption,
before we discuss the role of policies aiming to accelerate the
diffusion of EET. In the section \u2018From Adoption to Diffusion:
The Time Dimension, Feedback Loops and Diffusion
Dynamics,\u2019 we extend the view from individual adoption de-
cisions to the diffusion perspective. The section \u2018Technology
Case Studies\u2019 presents selected case studies to illustrate the
determinants and dynamics of EET diffusion and the potential
role of policies.
Diffusion Theory
Diffusion of Technologies
The theory of the diffusion of innovations also forms the basis
for analyzing the diffusion of EETs. Rogers\u2019 \u2018diffusion of inno-
vation\u2019 provides a heuristic framework for analyzing the diffu-
sion of innovations and defines an innovation as \u2018an idea,
practice or object that is perceived as new by an individual or
other unit of adoption.\u2019 He continues by emphasizing that the
\u2018newness\u2019 of an innovation depends only on the perception of
the potential adopter. In this sense, a technology that uses
energy efficiently can be considered an innovation and the