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Heterogeneities in energy technological learning: Evidence from the U.S. electricity industry

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  • Shittu, Ekundayo
  • Kamdem, Bruno G.
  • Weigelt, Carmen

Abstract

While the role of organizational learning in improving firm performance is well documented, there are still questions on what drives technological learning. This is evident in the electricity industry where the growth of renewable energy technologies has been pervasive. Vicarious learning contributes to the adoption of emerging technologies through successful inter-firm knowledge sharing and transfer. However, there is hesitation to adoption that characterizes vicarious learning especially in the context of intra-firm learning. This paper investigates the differences in knowledge acquisition within and across electricity firms in the U.S. The learning curve model is applied to a longitudinal study of 5573 plants belonging to 1542 U.S. electricity firms between 1998 and 2010. This study finds: (i) The capacity growth of the solar photovoltaic technology is positively associated with intra-firm knowledge acquisition; (ii) The effect of financial incentives on the adoption of solar and wind technologies is higher under inter-firm learning; (iii) The higher the stringency of policy mandates, the more varied is the progress on technological change across technologies; (iv) Knowledge sharing between firms are higher for wind technology than for solar technology. These findings combine to show disparities in the learning trends of technologies across and within firms’ boundaries.

Suggested Citation

  • Shittu, Ekundayo & Kamdem, Bruno G. & Weigelt, Carmen, 2019. "Heterogeneities in energy technological learning: Evidence from the U.S. electricity industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 1034-1049.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:132:y:2019:i:c:p:1034-1049
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2019.06.052
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Technological learning; Policy; Knowledge acquisition; Electricity industry;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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