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Energy subsidies, structure of electricity prices and technological change of energy use

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  • Diaz Arias, Adriana
  • van Beers, Cees

Abstract

This paper addresses the impact of the structure of energy prices on technological change in renewable energy sources. It operates on two fields of research that are often not related to each other. Firstly, the increasing interest in environmental economics for the determinants of green technological change, and secondly the impact of government policies aimed at subsidizing energy prices. Recent research claims a positive relationship between energy prices and the number of patents in the fields of energy efficiency. This paper extends this research by investigating the impact of the price structure of electricity on patent counts in 1) renewable energy sources, 2) wind energy and 3) solar power. In nearly all OECD countries in the period 1990–2006 industrial energy users pay a lower price per energy unit than households due, among others, to government subsidy policies. The empirical results show that reducing government subsidies and hence increasing the electricity price of (large) industrial electricity users relative to the price paid by (small) residential users provides a clear incentive to increase inventions as measured by number of patents in the technical fields of solar and wind energy. These results are an important input in the debate on reducing government support to large energy users.

Suggested Citation

  • Diaz Arias, Adriana & van Beers, Cees, 2013. "Energy subsidies, structure of electricity prices and technological change of energy use," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 495-502.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:40:y:2013:i:c:p:495-502 DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2013.08.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nie, Pu-yan & Yang, Yong-cong & Chen, You-hua & Wang, Zhao-hui, 2016. "How to subsidize energy efficiency under duopoly efficiently?," Applied Energy, Elsevier, pages 31-39.
    2. Jiang, Zhujun & Lin, Boqiang, 2014. "The perverse fossil fuel subsidies in China—The scale and effects," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 411-419.
    3. repec:eee:enepol:v:110:y:2017:i:c:p:144-149 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Li, Ke & Lin, Boqiang, 2015. "How does administrative pricing affect energy consumption and CO2 emissions in China?," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 952-962.
    5. François Cohen & Matthieu Glachant & Magnus Söderberg, 2017. "The impact of energy prices on product innovation: Evidence from the UK refrigerator market," CIES Research Paper series 50-2017, Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute.
    6. Yu, Feifei & Guo, Yue & Le-Nguyen, Khuong & Barnes, Stuart J. & Zhang, Weiting, 2016. "The impact of government subsidies and enterprises’ R&D investment: A panel data study from renewable energy in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 106-113.
    7. Li, Ke & Lin, Boqiang, 2015. "Heterogeneity in rebound effects: Estimated results and impact of China’s fossil-fuel subsidies," Applied Energy, Elsevier, pages 148-160.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Induced innovation; Energy prices; Subsidies; Patents;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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