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Residential Consumers’ Willingness to Pay Price Premium for Renewable Heat in South Korea

Hee-Hoon Kim (), Seul-Ye Lim () and Seung-Hoon Yoo ()
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Hee-Hoon Kim: Department of Energy Policy, Graduate School of Energy and Environment, Seoul National University of Science and Technology, 232 Gongreung-Ro, Nowon-Gu, Seoul 01811, Korea
Seul-Ye Lim: Research Strategy Department, Frontier Research and Training Institute, Korea District Heating Corporation, 92 Gigok-Ro, Giheung-Gu, Yongin, Gyeonggi 17099, Korea

Sustainability, 2019, vol. 11, issue 5, 1-14

Abstract: Heat accounts for about one-third of the final energy use and it is mostly produced using fossil fuels in South Korea. Thus, heat production is an important source of greenhouse gas emissions. However, using renewable heat that is directly produced from renewable energy, such as bioenergy, geothermal, or solar heat can save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, rather than transforming conventional fuel into heat. Therefore, an energy policy for renewable heat urgently needs to be established. It is such situations that this paper attempts to assess the consumers’ additional willingness to pay (WTP) or the price premium for renewable heat over heat that is produced from fossil fuels for residential heating. To that end, a nationwide contingent valuation survey of 1000 households was conducted during August 2018. Employing the model allowing for zero WTP values, the mean of the additional WTP or premium for one Gcal of heat produced using renewable energy rather than fossil fuels was estimated to be KRW 3636 (USD 3.2), which is statistically meaningful at the 1% level. This value represents the price premium for renewable heat over heat that is based on fossil fuels. Given that the heat price for residential heating was approximately KRW 73,000 (USD 65.1) per Gcal at the time of the survey, the additional WTP or the price premium corresponds to about 5% of that. When considering that the cost of producing renewable heat is still significantly higher than the cost of producing fossil fuels-based heat, more efforts to lower the production costs of renewable heat as well as financial support of the government for producing and supplying renewable heat are needed to ensure residential consumers’ acceptance of renewable heat.

Keywords: renewable heat; willingness to pay; consumer acceptance; contingent valuation; price premium (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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