The Experience Curve Theory and its Application in the Field of Electricity Generation Technologies

A literature review

  • News 18.10.2017

The experience curve theory assumes that technology costs decline as experience of a technology is gained through production and use. Sascha Samadi's (Wuppertal Institute, Research Group Future Energy and Mobility Structures) article reviews the literature on the experience curve theory and its empirical evidence in the field of electricity generation technologies. Differences in the characteristics of experience curves found in the literature are systematically presented and the limitations of the experience curve theory as well as its use in energy models are discussed. Results show that for some electricity generation technologies, especially small-scale modular technologies, there has been a remarkably strong (negative) relationship between experience and cost for several decades. Conversely, for other technologies, especially large-scale and highly complex technologies, the experience curve does not appear to be a useful tool for explaining cost changes over time. Samadi suggests that when analysing past cost developments and projecting future cost developments, researcher should be aware that factors other than experience may have significant influence.

The literature review "The experience curve theory and its application in the field of electricity generation technologies" by Sascha Samadi was published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews and is available online.

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