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Learning curves and changing product attributes: the case of wind turbines

  • Coulomb, L.
  • Neuhoff, K.

The heuristic concept of learning curves describes cost reductions as a function of cumulative production. A study of the Liberty shipbuilders suggested that product quality and production scale are other relevant factors that affect costs. Significant changes of attributes of a technology must be corrected when assessing the impact of learning-by-doing. We use an engineering-based model to capture the cost changes of wind turbines that can be attributed to changes in turbine size. We estimate the learning curve and turbine size parameters using more than 1500 price points from 1991 to 2003. The fit between model and empirical data confirms the concept.

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Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 0618.

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Length: 18
Date of creation: Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0618
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  1. Peter Thompson, 2001. "How Much Did the Liberty Shipbuilders Learn? New Evidence for an Old Case Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 103-137, February.
  2. Isoard, Stephane & Soria, Antonio, 2001. "Technical change dynamics: evidence from the emerging renewable energy technologies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 619-636, November.
  3. Junginger, M. & Faaij, A. & Turkenburg, W. C., 2005. "Global experience curves for wind farms," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 133-150, January.
  4. Goldemberg, Jose, 1996. "The evolution of ethanol costs in Brazil," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(12), pages 1127-1128, December.
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