Product innovation and the costs of energy-using product policies

Salmons, R. 2011. Product innovation and the costs of energy-using product policies. Applied Environmental Economics Conference (envecon 2011). London 04 Mar 2011

TitleProduct innovation and the costs of energy-using product policies
AuthorsSalmons, R.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

Energy-using Products (EuPs) contribute significantly to the United Kingdom’s CO2 emissions, both in the domestic and non-domestic sectors. Policies that encourage the use of more energy efficient products (such as minimum performance standards, energy labelling, enhanced capital allowances, etc.) can therefore generate significant reductions in overall energy consumption and hence, CO2 emissions. While these policies can impose costs on the producers and consumers of these products in the short run, the process of product innovation may reduce the magnitude of these costs over time. If this is the case, then it is important that the impacts of innovation are taken into account in policy impact assessments.

Previous studies have found considerable evidence of experience curve effects for EuP categories (e.g. refrigerators, televisions, etc.), with learning rates of around 20% for both average unit costs and average prices; similar to those found for energy supply technologies. Moreover, the decline in production costs has been accompanied by a significant improvement in the energy efficiency of EuPs. Building on these findings and the results of an empirical analysis of UK sales data for a range of product categories, this paper sets out an analytic framework for assessing the impact of EuP policy interventions on consumers and producers which takes explicit account of the product innovation process.

The impact of the product innovation process can be seen in the continuous evolution of the energy class profiles of EuP categories over time; with higher energy classes (e.g. A, A+, etc.) entering the market and increasing their market share, while lower classes (e.g. E, F, etc.) lose share and then leave the market. Furthermore, the average prices of individual energy classes have declined over their respective lives, while new classes have typically entered the market at successively lower “launch prices”.

Based on two underlying assumptions regarding the shapes of the “lifecycle profiles” for the relative sales and the relative average mark-ups of individual energy classes, a simple simulation model is developed that can replicate the observed market dynamics in terms of the evolution of market shares and average prices. The model is used to assess the effect of two alternative EuP policy interventions – a minimum energy performance standard and an energy-labelling scheme – on the average unit cost trajectory and the average price trajectory of a typical EuP category, and hence the financial impacts on producers and consumers.

Year2011
ConferenceApplied Environmental Economics Conference (envecon 2011)
Publication dates
Completed2011
Web address (URL) of conference proceedingshttp://www.eftec.co.uk/keynotes/envecon-2011/economic-appraisal-roger-salmons/download

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