تصمیم گیری های سرمایه گذاری در بخش انرژی های تجدید پذیر: تجزیه و تحلیل از محرکان غیرمالی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|10553||2013||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 80, Issue 3, March 2013, Pages 510–524
Notwithstanding their many environmental, economic and social advantages, renewable energy technologies (RE) account for a small fraction of the world's primary energy supply. One possible cause for this limited diffusion is that private investments in the RE sector, although potentially appealing, remain insufficient. The lack of adequate financing is also a clear indication that our understanding of the process by which investors fund RE ventures is still incomplete. This paper aims to fill in this gap and to shed new light on RE investment decisions. Building upon behavioral finance and institutional theory, we posit that, in addition to a rational evaluation of the economics of the investment opportunities, various non-financial factors affect the decision to invest in renewables. We analyze the investment decisions of a large sample of investors, with the objective to identify the main determinants of their choices. Our results shed new light on the role of institutional and behavioral factors in determining the share of renewable energy technologies in energy portfolios, and have important implications for both investors and policy makers: they suggest that RE technologies still suffer from a series of biased perceptions and preconceptions that favor status quo energy production models over innovative alternatives.
The debate on Renewable Energies (RE) continues to attract a significant amount of attention within the academic, managerial and policy making communities. While some scholars and industry experts remain skeptical about the technical and economic viability of these technologies  and , a different view, championed by the IPCC and especially popular in some European countries, considers RE as one of the most effective solutions to curb greenhouse gas emissions . Despite mixed empirical evidence  and , RE have been also indicated as a powerful instrument to tackle unemployment and stimulate economic growth ,  and . The advocates of this view argue that — if the objective of halving CO2 emissions by 2050 is to be achieved through the diffusion of RE — the contribution of these technologies to primary energy supply must exceed 50%  and . Yet, notwithstanding the public support received in various countries under the form of incentive schemes, taxation or other governmental expenditures, RE technologies only account for a small fraction of the world's primary energy supply. One reason for this limited diffusion is that, while the transition towards a low-carbon economy requires important investments  and , private finance has so far played a relatively marginal role in this industry . Mobilizing private capital to support RE projects is challenging, particularly in the current economic context, as investors are reluctant to allocate resources to new technologies that guarantee uncertain returns in the short term. The majority of high-tech VCs prefer to invest in technologies with low-risk low-return profiles and “seem to be steering clear of risky green investments, suggesting that clean-tech companies for a variety of reasons don't work” [14; p. 23]. Furthermore, most of the resources so far attracted by the RE industry have been channeled towards mature RE technologies that are closer to grid parity, such as on-shore wind or hydro,1 on the ground that “accelerated deployment of existing technologies will get you down the cost curve much more rapidly than a breakthrough” [14; p. 23]. Compared to these technologies, radically innovative systems that may display higher long-term potentials have somehow failed to attract the amount of capital necessary to pay for the greater upfront investments they usually require. In the long run, this strategy of privileging relatively mature technologies could stifle the development of technological breakthroughs and, ultimately, cause the premature extinction of technological alternatives with potentially superior performance . Investment strategies that focus on a few mature technologies may be myopic in the short term too, because they reduce valuable opportunities for diversifying energy portfolios and hedging against price fluctuations  and . Some scholars have argued that investments in RE technologies can be stimulated only through dedicated policies . Indeed, with the exception of stand-alone systems for remote off-grid applications where RE is sometimes the only available option , most RE markets are heavily reliant on direct subsidies, energy taxes, or feed-in tariffs. Yet, most of the mechanisms so far implemented to stimulate RE investments have produced mixed results  and , partly because the proposed instruments have been unable to leverage all the drivers of the investment decision process and to fit the broader socio-economic context in which they are deployed . The limited effectiveness of these policies, and the variety of stances that investors take on renewables, suggest that our understanding of the process by which these agents allocate capital to RE technology ventures remains limited. With a few exceptions  and , and despite some recent calls to further investigate the role that private finance can play to accelerate RE market deployment , the renewable energy policy literature has seldom incorporated the investors' perspective. Moreover, it has generally focused on the economics of energy systems, adopting market efficiency and full rationality as underlying assumptions to study the behaviors of agents . Yet, there is increasing evidence that a purely rational economic evaluation of the investment alternatives does not suffice to explain how investors deploy capital or how agents choose among competing energy technologies. An emerging stream of literature suggests that broader social and psychological considerations must be included in the analysis of energy systems  and . Behavioral finance and the bounded rationality perspective have long challenged the validity of the rational-actor models of classical economics in many decision making contexts  and . Recently, these perspectives have started to draw the attention of energy economists too, mostly for policy evaluation purposes . However, to our knowledge, they have not been applied to study the investors' behaviors in the RE industry and to examine why these agents have very different and often antithetical attitudes towards RE technologies. This paper intends to fill this gap in the literature by shedding new light on the process by which investors allocate capital to renewable energy technologies. We posit that, in addition to a rational evaluation of the investment opportunities, a number of non-financial factors affect the investors' decisions, which may lead to very different resource allocation outcomes. We refer specifically to non-financial variables linked to the investors' personal histories, backgrounds or professional experiences that may also affect decisions. These factors include: i) the opinions that investors have formed over time on RE and on the regulatory context in which they operate (i.e. their a priori beliefs vis-à-vis renewable energy technologies); ii) the extent to which investors are influenced by the socio, economic and political environment in which they operate (i.e. their response to institutional pressure); iii) the extent to which investors are willing to invest into radically new technologies with a high degree of technical uncertainty and, iv) their knowledge of the operational context in which RE are deployed. To fill in this gap, we develop and empirically test a model that examines the impact of non financial factors on RE investments. Following the recent emphasis on energy portfolio diversification  and  we examine the impact of these factors not only on the overall share of RE technologies in the investment portfolio, but also on its degree of diversification and the adoption rate of each specific RE technology. The model is empirically tested using primary data collected from a sample of European investors. Europe was chosen as an appropriate context for our empirical analysis, both for its leading role on climate change and energy policies and because it is the world region that, perhaps as a direct consequence of these policies, has attracted the largest share of new RE investments in the past few years . It is worth stressing that, as a consequence of this choice, our results may not necessarily hold for investors operating in other regions. The paper aims to make several contributions. First, by providing a better understanding of the investors' decision making process, it will help the RE industry attract badly needed capital. Second, it will help policy makers design more effective policy instruments to support the market deployment of RE technologies. Finally, the paper makes a methodological contribution too, as it analyzes a broader set of agents than what usually considered in studies of this nature. The reminder of the paper is structured as follows: the next section provides an overview of RE investments and it positions our work against extant literature. Section 3 lays out theoretical foundations and it proposes testable hypotheses. Section 4 describes the research design and the empirical methods. Section 5 illustrates the main findings. Finally, Section 6 highlights the main conclusions and discusses implications for theory and practice as well as the limitations of the paper.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
RE proponents, especially in Europe, suggest that renewable energy sources have the potential to play a crucial role in reducing carbon emissions and fossil fuel consumption in all sectors of the economy. Yet, the difficulties encountered by many countries in meeting their Kyoto emission reduction targets ,6 as well as the resistance to setting new legally binding targets at the Copenhagen Summit, prove that exploiting this potential is far from obvious. Indeed, while the advocates of the RE option suggested that huge additional investments are needed to realize the RE potential and achieve the proposed carbon emission reduction targets, no agreement could be reached on this point . Needless to say, this is particularly challenging in a context of global economic uncertainty. Although investors can play a key role in mobilizing capital to support renewable energy technologies, evidence suggests that they are often reluctant to do so. Clearly, dedicated policies can be, and have been, implemented to stimulate renewable energy investments. However, many of the efforts conducted so far have been only moderately effective because, by failing to understand the behavioral context in which investors make decisions, they have been unable to leverage some key drivers of the investment process. In a market economy, the effectiveness of a policy is dependent upon its impact on investors' behaviors. Thus, to maximize the impact of future policies, policy makers need to get a better understanding of how investors behave and take their decisions, particularly in relation to the psychological factors that may influence their behaviors and actions. Yet, despite this evidence, there is a surprising lack of rigorous empirical studies examining these issues in the energy literature. This paper represents one of the first attempts to fill in this gap. Drawing upon studies in behavioral finance and institutional theory, we have examined how investors' a-priori beliefs, response to institutional pressure, attitude toward radical technological innovations and knowledge of the RE operational context affect investments in renewable energy projects. Our analysis has revealed that a priori beliefs on the technical adequacy of the investment opportunities play a much more important role in driving investments than the perceived effectiveness of existing policies. Implicitly, this suggests that agents consider the proven reliability of a technology as a necessary condition for investing in it, while they believe that market inefficiencies can be corrected through the adoption of appropriate policy instruments. The results have also revealed a group of investors with extremely short investment horizons, who are extremely sensitive to the institutional pressure of peers and external consultants in their investment decisions. The paper makes a contribution to the energy policy, strategic management and behavioral finance literatures, and has some implications for managerial practice and policy making. Firstly, the incorporation of cognitive and behavioral elements is an important theoretical contribution and produces a more accurate description of the phenomena underlying investment decisions in RE technologies. Second, the research can advance the emerging field of sustainable investments. The few studies on this topic have focused on a restricted group of investors, namely venture capitalists. By expanding the scope to a broader set of actors operating in the sustainable energy field, this work contributes to validate and extend previous findings. Our results appear also relevant for practitioners in the sustainable energy market. A priori beliefs and limited knowledge of the broader RE context create additional barriers that restrain the likelihood of raising capital for clean energy investments. The analysis of these elements as opposed to more rational factors can help investors get a more balanced view of risks and opportunities in this industry. Finally, the implications for policy makers are also clear. Investors seem to have very little faith in dedicated policy measures that directly support RE technologies (for instance through short lived subsidies). Conversely, they seem much more sensitive to the technical feasibility or the proven performance record of a technology as well as to institutional pressure. As a consequence, RE budgets should be redirected to leverage these factors, for instance by supporting R&D programs in the public and private sectors, by promoting demonstration projects, and by further disseminating information on RE systems within the relevant business circles and key stakeholders. Like most research, our study is not exempt from limitations. A first limitation is that the results may be difficult to generalize because the study was restricted to a specific empirical and geographical context (Europe). It is therefore important to stress that the conclusions may not hold outside this context. We acknowledge that the focusing on a sample of European investors may introduce a bias in favor of RE for at least two reasons. First, in Europe the market for renewable energy has been traditionally supported by stronger incentives than, say, the United States. Second, European consumers are traditionally more sensitive to environmental concerns than their American or Asian counterparts, thereby creating a more favorable environment for RE investments. A second limitation pertains to the fact that the dependent variables used in the models are self assessed. Although we have controlled the presence of CMV, the use of objective, quantitative measures of technology adoption would be necessary to further validate our findings. A third limitation is that we did not include any financial investment variables in the model. Yet, we believe that omitting these variables had little effect on the estimated impacts of the factors included in the model. Given that our sample included a relatively homogeneous set of investors who operated in the same geographical region and in the same time window, we would have hardly found enough variance in the variables describing the financial characteristics of the technologies. Finally, although we did control for some exogenous factors, the relatively limited sample size did not allow for a better differentiation among renewable energy investments. The survey included investments in a wide range of different renewable energy technologies with different degrees of innovativeness and risk. Clearly, some of the phenomena observed may be technology-dependent and require further investigation. We expect to address some of these issues in follow-up works.