Analyzing price and efficiency dynamics of large appliances with the experience curve approach

M. Weiss, M.K. Patel, H.M. Junginger, K. Blok

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Large appliances are major power consumers in households of industrialized countries. Although their energy efficiency has been increasing substantially in past decades, still additional energy efficiency potentials exist. Energy policy that aims at realizing these potentials faces, however, growing concerns about possible adverse effects on commodity prices. Here, we address these concerns by applying the experience curve approach to analyze long-term price and energy efficiency trends of three wet appliances (washing machines, laundry dryers, and dishwashers) and two cold appliances (refrigerators and freezers). We identify a robust long-term decline in both specific price and specific energy consumption of large appliances. Specific prices of wet appliances decline at learning rates (LR) of 29±8% and thereby much faster than those of cold appliances (LR of 9±4%). Our results demonstrate that technological learning leads to substantial price decline, thus indicating that the introduction of novel and initially expensive energy efficiency technologies does not necessarily imply adverse price effects in the long term. By extending the conventional experience curve approach, we find a steady decline in the specific energy consumption of wet appliances (LR of 20–35%) and cold appliances (LR of 13–17%). Our analysis suggests that energy policy might be able to bend down energy experience curves.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)770-783
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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