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

Ekundayo Shittu, Bruno G. Kamdem and Carmen Weigelt

Energy Policy, 2019, vol. 132, issue C, 1034-1049

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.

Keywords: Technological learning; Policy; Knowledge acquisition; Electricity industry (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O14 D83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2019.06.052

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