Now showing 1 - 10 of 33
  • Publication
    Adoption of Renewable Home Heating Systems: An Agent-Based Model of Heat Pump Systems in Ireland
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2020-12) ;
    Concern about climate change and dependence on fossil fuels is inducing countries to develop and deploy renewable energy technologies. Heat pump systems, which extract heat either from the air, water, or ground sources, are among the viable options for space heating and domestic hot water production in the residential sector. In this paper, we develop an agent-based model to analyze the adoption process of heat pump systems and the underlying diffusion factors. Uniquely, we use a recent nationally representative Irish household survey data to derive parameters for decision rules for technology adoption in the model. In this research, we explore how financial aspects, psychological factors and social networks influence the adoption and diffusion of heat pump systems. We also discuss how individual household socio-demographic characteristics, building characteristics, geographical location of household and policy incentives affect the adoption process. The research should be of interest to policymakers, as we use the model to test the impact of various policies on technology adoption rates.
  • Publication
    Vehicle Tax Design and Car Purchase Choices: A Case Study of Ireland
    (European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, 2019-06-29) ;
    This paper utilises a difference-in-differences model to study the impact of a vehicle tax reform on purchasing choices over a period of 10 years. In line with many other European countries, on the 1st of July 2008 the motor taxation regime in the Republic of Ireland was reformed to try and stem rising CO2 emissions from the passenger car fleet. To achieve this, both vehicle purchase and circulation taxes switched from an engine capacity basis to a CO2 emissions rating per kilometre basis. The aim of this study is to quantify the effectiveness of this (and subsequent) vehicle policy changes at achieving this goal. Using a difference in differences quasi-experimental design, we attempt to recreate the missing counterfactual (in the absence of the policy change(s)) of vehicle purchasing patterns in Ireland using the trend in UK new passenger car emissions over the same period. The findings suggest that the initial taxation policy change reduced average rated CO2 emissions from new passenger cars by between 8 to 11 g CO2/km. Some subsequent policy changes, such as the introduction of a scrappage scheme in 2010 also had an impact at stimulating the purchase of lower-emitting vehicles. This effect however was achieved by a substantial switch towards diesel powered vehicles, with other consequences for the environment, and a significant drop in tax revenue for the exchequer.
  • Publication
    Energy efficiency in the food retail sector: Barriers, drivers, and acceptable policies
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2017-07) ;
    The objective of this research is to empirically examine the drivers and barriers to energy efficiency measures in an important energy-using sector, namely the food retail sector, and support more effective energy efficiency policies for this sector. Although food retailers consume a significant amount of energy due to the refrigeration, air conditioning and specialised lighting needs of stores, there has been little research in this sector on the barriers and drivers for implementing energy efficiency measures. A survey of small food retailers was carried out to understand the barriers and drivers to greater uptake of energy efficiency measures and to examine the acceptability of different energy efficiency policy options for food retailers. In addition, external stakeholders were consulted in order to validate and contextualise the results of the survey. We find there is a complementary relationship between energy efficiency barriers and drivers for food retailers that is remarkably coherent. We identify policies, such as subsidies and support for ESCOs, that both exploit the complementarities between barriers and drivers and are acceptable to food retailers also. This methodology should help identify and design more effective policies to deliver energy efficiency improvements in the food retail sector.
  • Publication
    Effectiveness of fiscal and other measures to manage greenhouse gas emissions from the automobile sector : evidence from Europe
    (University College Dublin. Department of Planning and Environmental Policy, 2006-05) ; ;
    This paper models annual new car average CO2 emissions intensity in EU Member States over the period 1995-2004. It attempts to explore the relationship, if any, between national vehicle and fuel taxes and the EU voluntary agreement in reducing CO2 emissions from the passenger car fleet. Our results indicate that (i) vehicle taxes are likely to be significant in reducing CO2 emissions intensity of passenger cars, and that (ii) the CO2 emissions intensity of EU new passenger cars has fallen over the time period studied. We hypothesise that this time trend may be attributable to the voluntary agreement.
  • Publication
    Preferences for Renewable Home Heating: A Choice Experiment Study of Heat Pump System in Ireland
    Renewable sources of home heating like heat pump systems are expected to play a vital role in mitigating the adverse effects of carbon-intensive heating systems. Compared to conventional heating systems, heat pump systems are more energy efficient, have low maintenance and operational costs and provide reliable and environmentally friendly home heating. Despite those advantages, the uptake of heat pumps has been low among the Irish population and little is known about the factors that affect their adoption. This paper uses a discrete choice experiment approach to investigate preferences for heat pumps in the residential sector based on nationally representative household survey data from Ireland. We analyse the choice data using a mixed logit model and estimate the marginal willingness to pay for bill savings, environmentally sustainable, installation hassles and increase in home comfort using both models in preferences space and in willingness to pay (WTP) space. Our results show that upfront cost, bill savings, environmental sustainability and installation hassle significantly influence household uptake of heat pumps. The estimated results also reveal the presence of heterogeneous preferences. Furthermore, the results show that households are willing to pay for heat pumps; however, the values might not be large enough to cover the higher upfront costs of, for example, a ground source heat pump. Overall, the study highlights that policy makers should consider the various financial and non-financial factors that influence adoption and heterogeneity in preferences in designing policy intervention aimed at increasing the uptake of heat pumps.
  • Publication
    Attitudes to Renewable Energy Technologies: Driving Change in Early Adopter Markets
    This paper explores the motivations behind the adoption of key renewable energy technologies in an early adopter market. Notwithstanding their social benefits, uptake of electric vehicles, heat pumps, and solar photovoltaic panels remains low, necessitating targeted measures to address this. We conducted a comprehensive survey of a nationally representative sample of Irish households and analysed this rich dataset using pairwise group comparisons and a factor analysis combined with a logit regression model. We found fundamental differences between adopters and non-adopters. Current adopters tend to be younger, more educated, of higher socio-economic status, and more likely to live in newer buildings of generous size than non-adopters. Environmental attitudes are an insufficient predictor of uptake - whilst non-adopters self-report as being more sustainable, adopters believe that their own decisions impact climate change. Importantly, social processes will be instrumental in future uptake. Word-of-mouth recommendation will matter greatly in communicating the use and benefits of technologies as evident from the significantly larger social networks that current adopters enjoy. Using these insights, policy incentives can be designed according to public preferences.
  • Publication
    Integrating European Electricity Markets – what impact for consumers and producers?
    Electricity market design is evolving with the increase in electricity generated from renewable sources. The market system was originally designed for dispatchable fossil fuel electricity generation with high marginal costs rather than renewable electricity generation with nearly zero marginal costs and high upfront capital costs. When short term prices no longer cover long term investment costs, new market design is needed.
  • Publication
    Factors influencing early electric vehicle adoption in Ireland
    The objective of this work is to analyse the key determinants of electric vehicle uptake amongst early adopters. Transport accounts for about a quarter of Europe’s total greenhouse gas emissions and has not achieved similar reductions in emissions as other sectors. However, there is an opportunity to achieve lower emissions through the widespread use of electric vehicles. Due to the rising awareness of the link between emissions and global warming, the European Union has set serious targets for renewable energy and greenhouse gas emissions that member states must achieve by 2020 and 2030. Although considerable progress has been made in reaching targets, efforts in the transport sector have been lagging in many countries, with a significant boost required in electric vehicle roll-out if transport-specific targets are to be met. One reason for this lack of progress is possibly an incomplete understanding of the motivations behind consumer uptake, which in turn, hampers policy design to encourage adoption. Here, for the first time, the case study of Ireland is used to analyse socio-demographic and neighbourhood characteristics such as charging infrastructure, dealers and other EV adopters, to identify the key determinants of electric vehicle adoption in the early phase of technology diffusion. From our exploratory data analysis, social class which represents whether the population consists of skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled workers, appears to be the principal factor affecting EV uptake in Ireland. This variable may proxy for income effects, implying that the average wealth of a neighbourhood matters for EV ownership. There also appears to be clustering in EV adopters, possibly due to unobserved peer effects. The OLS model performs poorly for our dataset. Our future work will help determine the significant predictors of adoption based on a spatial econometric approach that explicitly models relationships between agents in the model such that the restrictive assumptions of OLS models can be relaxed to allow for interdependence between individual actors.
  • Publication
    Harnessing Electricity Retail Tariffs to Support Climate Change Policy
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2018-12) ; ; ;
    Legacy electricity retail tariffs are ill-adapted to future electricity systems and markets, particularly with regard to accommodating the multi-faceted shift toward decarbonisation. We examine how retail tariffs need to be reformed to not only meet the future revenue requirements of energy-suppliers and networks but also to help achieve the environmental objectives of the energy transition. While existing literature has explored the link between retail tariff structure design, wholesale markets and/or network cost recovery, there is less recognition of the impact of tariff structure design on environmental objectives. This paper reviews the demand responsiveness of household customers to electricity prices and implications of retail tariff structure and design for the policy targets of CO2 emissions, energy efficiency, and renewable electricity generation, in addition to electricity system. A review of the literature provides a theoretical basis for price elasticity of demand and electricity retail tariff design, and we explore the environmental implications for future retail tariff design options via examples of various tariff structures in the EU and US. The research links the topics of emissions mitigation policy and market design, and should add empirical insights to the body of academic literature on future electricity markets. It should also be of interest to policy makers wishing to consider retail tariff structures that promote decarbonisation of the electricity system through multiple objectives of improved energy efficiency and increased shares of renewable electricity within future electricity markets.
  • Publication
    The State of Play in Electric Vehicle Charging Services: Global Trends with Insight for Ireland
    Electrification of vehicle fleets, particularly in countries with increasing shares of renewable electricity supply, represents an important pathway toward low-carbon mobility. This report examines the role of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure as a key enabler for EV uptake, and explores business models and policy approaches for promoting deployment. It then applies observed key principles to assess the Irish EV charging services market and identifies key recommendations for Irish policy.