FEEM working papers "Note di lavoro" series
2015 .001

The Effects of Expert Selection, Elicitation Design, and R&D Assumptions on Experts’ Estimates of the Future Costs of Photovoltaics


Autori: Elena Verdolini, Laura Diaz Anadon, Jiaqi Lu, Gregory F. Nemet
Serie: Energy: Resources and Markets
Editor: Giuseppe Sammarco
Tipo: Journal
Parole chiave: Photovoltaic Costs, Energy R&D, Expert Elicitation, Survey Design, Heuristics
Numero JEL: O32, Q40, Q55
JEL: Energy Policy
Pagine: Volume 80, Pages 233-243
Data: 05/2015

Abstract

Expert elicitations of future energy technology costs can improve energy policy design by explicitly characterizing uncertainty. However, the recent proliferation of expert elicitation studies raises questions about the reliability and comparability of the results. In this paper, we standardize disparate expert elicitation data from five EU and US studies, involving 65 experts, of the future costs of photovoltaics (PV) and evaluate the impact of expert and study characteristics on the elicited metrics. The results for PV suggest that in-person elicitations are associated with more optimistic 2030 PV cost estimates and in some models with a larger range of uncertainty than online elicitations. Unlike in previous results on nuclear power, expert affiliation type and nationality do not affect central estimates. Some specifications suggest that EU experts are more optimistic about breakthroughs, but they are also less confident in that they provide larger ranges of estimates than do US experts.  Higher R&D investment is associated with lower future costs.  Rather than increasing confidence, high R&D increases uncertainty about future costs, mainly because it improves the base case (low cost) outcomes more than it improves the worst case (high cost) outcomes.

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Suggested citation: Elena Verdolini, Laura Diaz Anadon, Jiaqi Lu, Gregory F. Nemet, The effects of expert selection, elicitation design, and R&D assumptions on experts' estimates of the future costs of photovoltaics, Energy Policy, Volume 80, May 2015, Pages 233-243, ISSN 0301-4215, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2015.01.006

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