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Bridging the Gap: Do Fast Reacting Fossil Technologies Facilitate Renewable Energy Diffusion?

Author

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  • Elena Verdolini

    (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and Centro Euro-Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici)

  • Francesco Vona

    (OFCE Sciences-Po and SKEMA Business School)

  • David Popp

    (Syracuse University and NBER)

Abstract

The diffusion of renewable energy in the power system implies high supply variability. Lacking economically viable storage options, renewable energy integration has so far been possible thanks to the presence of fast-reacting mid-merit fossil-based technologies, which act as back-up capacity. This paper discusses the role of fossil-based power generation technologies in supporting renewable energy investments. We study the deployment of these two technologies conditional on all other drivers in 26 OECD countries between 1990 and 2013. We show that a 1% percent increase in the share of fast-reacting fossil generation capacity is associated with a 0.88% percent increase in renewable in the long run. These results are robust to various modifications in our empirical strategy, and most notably to the use of system-GMM techniques to account for the interdependence of renewable and fast-reacting fossil investment decisions. Our analysis points to the substantial indirect costs of renewable energy integration and highlights the complementarity of investments in different generation technologies for a successful decarbonization process.

Suggested Citation

  • Elena Verdolini & Francesco Vona & David Popp, 2016. "Bridging the Gap: Do Fast Reacting Fossil Technologies Facilitate Renewable Energy Diffusion?," Working Papers 2016.51, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2016.51
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Arellano, Manuel & Bover, Olympia, 1995. "Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-51, July.
    2. Nicolli, Francesco & Vona, Francesco, 2016. "Heterogeneous policies, heterogeneous technologies: The case of renewable energy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 190-204.
    3. Aguirre, Mariana & Ibikunle, Gbenga, 2014. "Determinants of renewable energy growth: A global sample analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 374-384.
    4. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 2017. "Buffering volatility: A study on the limits of Germany's energy revolution," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 130-150.
    5. Erin Baker & Meredith Fowlie & Derek Lemoine & Stanley S. Reynolds, 2013. "The Economics of Solar Electricity," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 387-426, June.
    6. Daron Acemoglu & Suresh Naidu & Pascual Restrepo & James A. Robinson, 2014. "Democracy Does Cause Growth," NBER Working Papers 20004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Pfeiffer, Birte & Mulder, Peter, 2013. "Explaining the diffusion of renewable energy technology in developing countries," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 285-296.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elena Verdolini & Valentina Bosetti, 2017. "Environmental Policy and the International Diffusion of Cleaner Energy Technologies," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 66(3), pages 497-536, March.
    2. Conti, Chiara & Mancusi, Maria Luisa & Francesca, Sanna-Randaccio & Roberta, Sestini & Elena, Verdolini, 2016. "Transition Towards a Green Economy in Europe: Innovation and Knowledge Integration in the Renewable Energy Sector," MITP: Mitigation, Innovation,and Transformation Pathways 250256, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    3. Mare Sarr & Joëlle Noailly, 2017. "Innovation, Diffusion, Growth and the Environment: Taking Stock and Charting New Directions," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 66(3), pages 393-407, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Renewable Energy Investments; Fossil Energy Investments; Complementarity; Energy and Environmental Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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