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The Future Costs of Nuclear Power Using Multiple Expert Elicitations: Effects of RD&D and Elicitation Design

Author

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  • Laura Diaz Anadon

    (Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA)

  • Gregory Nemet

    (Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), University of Wisconsin, and La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin, USA)

  • Elena Verdolini

    (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and CMCC, Italy)

Abstract

Characterizing the anticipated performance of energy technologies to inform policy decisions increasingly relies on expert elicitation. Knowledge about how elicitation design factors impact the probabilistic estimates emerging from these studies is however scarce. We focus on nuclear power, a large-scale low-carbon power option, for which future cost estimates are important to designing energy policies and climate change mitigation efforts. We use data from three elicitations in the USA and in Europe and assess the role of government Research, Development, and Demonstration (RD&D) investments on expected nuclear costs in 2030. We show that controlling for expert, technology, and design characteristics increases experts’ implied public RD&D elasticity of expected costs by 25%. Public sector and industry experts’ costs expectations are 14% and 32% higher, respectively than academics. US experts are more optimistic than their EU counterparts, with median expected costs 22% lower. On average, a doubling of public RD&D is expected to result in an 8% cost reduction, but uncertainty is large. The difference between the 90th and 10th percentile estimates is on average 58% of the experts’ median estimates. Public RD&D investments do not affect uncertainty ranges, but US experts’ are less confident about costs than Europeans.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Diaz Anadon & Gregory Nemet & Elena Verdolini, 2013. "The Future Costs of Nuclear Power Using Multiple Expert Elicitations: Effects of RD&D and Elicitation Design," Working Papers 2013.85, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2013.85
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    Cited by:

    1. Diaz Anadon, Laura & Chan, Gabe & Bosetti, Valentina & Nemet, Gregory & Verdolini, Elena, 2014. "Energy Technology Expert Elicitations for Policy: Workshops, Modeling, and Meta-analysis," Climate Change and Sustainable Development 188381, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    2. Elena Verdolini & Laura Díaz Anadón & Erin Baker & Valentina Bosetti & Lara Aleluia Reis, 2018. "Future Prospects for Energy Technologies: Insights from Expert Elicitations," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 12(1), pages 133-153.
    3. Sandrine Mathy & Patrick Criqui & Katharina Knoop & Manfred Fischedick & Sascha Samadi, 2016. "Uncertainty management and the dynamic adjustment of deep decarbonization pathways," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(sup1), pages 47-62, June.
    4. Anadon, Laura Diaz & Baker, Erin & Bosetti, Valentina & Reis, Lara Aleluia, 2016. "Too Early to Pick Winners: Disagreement across Experts Implies the Need to Diversify R&D Investment," MITP: Mitigation, Innovation and Transformation Pathways 232924, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    5. Verdolini, Elena & Anadon, Laura Diaz & Lu, Jiaqi & Nemet, Gregory F., 2015. "The effects of expert selection, elicitation design, and R&D assumptions on experts' estimates of the future costs of photovoltaics," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 233-243.
    6. Laura Diaz Anadon & Erin Baker & Valentina Bosetti & Lara Aleluia Reis, 2016. "Expert views - and disagreements - about the potential of energy technology R&D," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 136(3), pages 677-691, June.
    7. McKellar, Jennifer M. & Sleep, Sylvia & Bergerson, Joule A. & MacLean, Heather L., 2017. "Expectations and drivers of future greenhouse gas emissions from Canada's oil sands: An expert elicitation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 162-169.
    8. Iyer, Gokul & Hultman, Nathan & Fetter, Steve & Kim, Son H., 2014. "Implications of small modular reactors for climate change mitigation," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 144-154.
    9. Chan, G. & Anadon, L-D., 2016. "Improving Decision Making for Public R&D Investment in Energy: Utilizing Expert Elicitation in Parametric Models," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1682, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Nuclear Power; Uncertainty; Returns to RD&D; Expert Elicitations; Meta-Analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation

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