||Learning in renewable energy technology development
Learning in renewable energy technology development / Hans Martin Junginger - [S.l.] : [s.n.], 2005 - Tekst. - Proefschrift Universiteit Utrecht
Trefwoorden: experience curve, renewable energy, wind, biomass, technological learning, the Netherlands
Dutch energy policy is directed at 17 percent of electricity demand being covered by renewable energy sources by 2020. Martin Junginger has demonstrated that this can be achieved at considerably lower costs than is the case now. He also found that it might be more financially advantageous to realize part of the objective outside of the Netherlands because, for example, more space is available there for wind turbines or because more biomass is available there.
Renewable electricity can make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing the dependence on fossil fuels. In particular the rate at which the production cost of electricity from land-based wind turbines can decrease, is something which most calculations and energy models have considerably underestimated up until now says Junginger (Copernicus Institute) in his Ph.D. thesis Learning in renewable energy technology development. Also the costs of electricity from wind parks at sea could fall by 25 to 39 percent by 2020. However several pilot plants will need to be constructed to realize this, and an improved exchange of knowledge will have to take place for the development of these technologies at a European level. The same applies to advanced power stations that gasify biomass with a high efficiency for electricity production. Therefore, the researcher also advises that learning processes and knowledge exchange for these technologies should be further stimulated at a European level.
In the final chapter, the consequences of different scenarios of technological learning and of different policies for renewable electricity diffusion are evaluated. Results show that a target EU-25 of 24% renewable electricity can be obtained in 2020, but that the contributions of different renewable electricity technologies may vary depending on their technological development. The development of onshore wind farms is relatively robust in respect to technological development, while the potential for PV remains marginal in all scenarios. Wind offshore and biomass gasification may both contribute major shares.
Junginger used the experience curve approach is his research. This approach describes the cost development of a product or a technology as a function of the cumulative production. A special empirical observation is that costs tend to decline almost at a fixed rate with every doubling of the cumulative production. This reduction is expressed in the progress ratio (PR), expressing the rate of unit cost decline with each doubling of cumulative production. For example, a PR of 0.8 implies that after one doubling of cumulative production, unit costs are reduced to 80% of the original costs, i.e. a 20% cost decrease. Researchers can use this to quantify cost reductions achieved in the past and to analyze possible future cost reductions. In his thesis, Junginger presents amongst others experience curves for onshore wind farms, offshore wind farms, biomass CHP plants, biomass digestion plants and fluidized bed boiler plants. In addition, Junginger carried out a qualitative analysis for various sustainable electricity technologies to determine which learning mechanisms can bring about further cost reductions.