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

55 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2015

See all articles by Elena Verdolini

Elena Verdolini

Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), CMCC - Euro Mediterranean Centre for Climate Change

Laura Diaz Anadon

Harvard University, Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) ; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Jiaqi Lu

University of Wisconsin - Madison - La Follette School of Public Affairs

Gregory F. Nemet

University of Wisconsin - Madison - La Follette School of Public Affairs

Date Written: January 20, 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.

Keywords: Photovoltaic Costs, Energy R&D, Expert Elicitation, Survey Design, Heuristics

JEL Classification: O32, Q40, Q55

Suggested Citation

Verdolini, Elena and Diaz Anadon, Laura and Lu, Jiaqi and Nemet, Gregory F., The Effects of Expert Selection, Elicitation Design, and R&D Assumptions on Experts’ Estimates of the Future Costs of Photovoltaics (January 20, 2015). FEEM Working Paper No. 1.2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2553113 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2553113

Elena Verdolini (Contact Author)

Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), CMCC - Euro Mediterranean Centre for Climate Change ( email )

C.so Magenta 63
Milano, 20123
Italy

Laura Diaz Anadon

Harvard University, Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) ( email )

79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jiaqi Lu

University of Wisconsin - Madison - La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )

1225 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53705
United States

Gregory F. Nemet

University of Wisconsin - Madison - La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )

1225 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53705
United States

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