تاثیر عوامل رفتاری در فرایند تصمیم گیری سرمایه گذاری انرژی قابل تجدید : چارچوب نظری و یافته های تجربی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|11026||2012||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Energy Policy, Volume 40, January 2012, Pages 28–38
Investments in renewable energy (RE) technologies are regarded with increasing interest as an effective means to stimulate growth and accelerate the recovery from the recent financial crisis. Yet, despite their appeal, and the numerous policies implemented to promote these technologies, the diffusion of RE projects remains somehow below expectations. This limited penetration is also due to a lack of appropriate financing and to a certain reluctance to invest in these technologies. In order to shed light on this phenomenon, in this paper we examine the decision making process underlying investments in RE technologies. We propose and test a conceptual model that examines the structural and behavioural factors affecting the investors decisions as well as the relationship between RE investments and portfolio performance. Applying econometric techniques on primary data collected from a sample of European investors, we study how the investors’ a-priori beliefs, their preferences over policy instruments and their attitude toward technological risk affect the likelihood of investing in RE projects. We also demonstrate that portfolio performance increases with an increase of the RE share in the portfolio. Implications for scholars, investors, technology managers and policy makers are derived and discussed.
In the World Energy Outlook 2009 (IEA, 2009a), the International Energy Agency launches an extremely clear and compelling message: current energy policies cannot be maintained if we want to avoid catastrophic consequences for the climate. An “energy technology revolution” is called for, in order to meet the challenging objective of halving CO2 emissions by 2050 compared with 2005 levels (IEA, 2008a). “The task is urgent; we must ensure that investment decisions taken now do not leave us with inefficient, high-emitting technologies in the long term” (IEA, 2009b, page 1). It seems that a new era is about to start, where renewable energy technologies are no longer considered a “Cinderella option” (Grubb, 1990) but are increasingly seen as “survival technologies” (Leggett, 2009). To increase the share of renewables in the global energy mix, significant innovations are needed not only in the technical field, but also in the social and institutional context (Krewitt et al., 2007). Improved policy frameworks for renewable energies are required, which correct externalities and ensure a more level playing field. Furthermore, cooperation between public and private actors needs to be strengthened. Both groups play a key role. Policy makers should create incentives to ensure that the necessary investments are undertaken (IEA, 2007). In turn, the private sector can play a crucial role in raising the required financial resources to facilitate the transition towards a low-carbon economy. Energy analysts estimate that huge additional investments are needed to realize this transition to a low carbon economy. Needless to say, this is particularly challenging in the current economic context, as investors are reluctant to do so unless dedicated policies are implemented to stimulate renewable energy investments. Recently, a group of 181 investment institutions which collectively represent assets for 13 trillion US dollars has stated that clear and appropriate long-term policy signals are essential to help investors integrate climate change considerations into decision-making processes and reallocate capital to low-carbon technologies (UNEP FI, 2009). Indeed, it seems that the main barrier to investments in greenhouse gas mitigation technologies is not the lack of capital, but rather the lack of appropriate policy packages to attract it (Usher, 2008a). As a matter of fact, many policies implemented so far have attained only partial results, because they have been unable to leverage the true drivers of the investment decision process. An emerging body of literature has started investigating how policies should be designed to mobilize investments in the renewable energy sector. Several studies at the EU level have provided a measure for policy effectiveness (EC SEC, 2008, PROGRESS, 2008 and OPTRES, 2007). Yet, although distinguished, these studies provide only limited insights into the investors’ perspective. The lack of emphasis on investors’ preferences is an important shortcoming in the extant research, which is acknowledged in the management and the finance literature (Bürer and Wüstenhagen, 2009, Russo, 2003 and Shleifer, 2000). This paper intends to fill this knowledge gap by shedding new light on the process through which investors allocate capital to renewable energy projects. To this end, we develop and empirically test a model that takes explicitly into account behavioural factors to analyse investors’ decisions. The model examines how a priori beliefs vis-à-vis renewable energy technologies, policy preferences and technological risk attitudes influence the agents’ willingness to invest in renewables, and how this, in turn, affects the investment performance. The model is empirically tested using primary data collected from a sample of European investors. Europe is 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 attracted the largest share of new renewable energy investments in 2008 (UNEP and NEF, 2009). The paper makes several contributions. First, by providing a better understanding of the investors’ decision making process, the study will help policy makers design more effective policy instruments to support the market deployment of renewable energy technologies. Second, by extending the empirical analysis to a wide range of institutional investors, the paper makes a methodological contribution too. So far, the few studies in this field have focused on a restricted group of investors, namely venture capitalists. By expanding the scope of the analysis to a broader set of financial actors, this work will contribute to extend the validity of previous findings to a broader and more general context. The remainder of the paper is structured as follows: the next section reviews the most relevant literature and the theoretical foundations of our work. Section 3 presents a conceptual model linking investors’ beliefs, investment decisions and performance. Section 4 describes the research design and the empirical methods employed to test the model. Section 5 illustrates the main findings. Finally, Section 6 highlights the main conclusions and discusses implications for theory and practice.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
First and foremost, it is worth signalling that the empirical study depicts a business context dominated by highly rational and well informed investors, who tend to minimise the risk of their choices by founding their decisions on factual, technical information. A descriptive analysis of the survey results reveal that the investors in our sample have clear preferences for mature and well established renewable energy technologies. They also look for stable policy frameworks axed on high levels of financial support as a prerequisite for investment decisions. Against this background, our analysis has brought some interesting findings to light. In particular, it has identified a series of causal relationships between behavioural attitudes and the share of renewables in the investment portfolio, as well as between behavioural attitudes and the investment performance. Table 4 displays the results of the multivariate regressions for the renewable energy share model and the investment performance model (for sake of simplicity in the following we refer to the OLS results only). Both models are significant (F=4.14 with p<0.01 and F=3.83, p<0.01, respectively) and have an acceptable explanatory power (R2=0.35 and R2=0.23 respectively). It can be noted from the table that a priori beliefs have a positive influence on the investors’ willingness to back renewable energy projects. However, the degree of confidence in technology effectiveness has a stronger impact than the confidence in the market efficiency (β=0.81 with p<0.01 versus β=0.34 with p=0.18). This might be interpreted as an indication that the proven reliability of a technology is a conditio sine qua non for investing, whereas investors believe that possible market inefficiencies can be corrected through the adoption of appropriate policy instruments. In other terms, investors seem to have a strong preference for those technologies which have already overcome both the technology and cash flow “valleys of death” (Grubb, 2004 and Murphy and Edwards, 2003). This finding is in line with the results of a survey carried out by Fritz-Morgenthal et al. (2009) where the majority of the sample stated that investors are expected to focus less on innovation and more on established technologies in the next 2–3 years, as a response to the financial crisis. Quite surprisingly, and in sharp contrast with the hypothesized effect, a higher propensity for technological risk (i.e. a tendency to invest in radically new technologies which are still far from commercial viability) is negatively associated with the renewable energy share in the portfolio. This can be due to the fact that most of the portfolios are skewed towards relatively well known renewable energy technologies. Investors who have an appetite for technological risk and invest in radically new technologies need to hedge against this risk by including a higher share of conventional technologies in their portfolios compared to those who invest in less innovative technologies. Thus, the total renewable energy share in their portfolios will be lower than investors with a moderate appetite for technological risk. As our dependent variable does not distinguish among types of renewable energy investments, this effect cannot be singled out. Another explanation could be that investors willing to invest in radically new technologies still do not find enough credible and well documented investment opportunities. Policy preferences have different impacts on the share of renewables in the investment portfolio. The analysis of their specific effects offers interesting insights. The influence of the type of policy scheme is statistically not significant (p=0.28). A more in-depth analysis of the conjoint measurement results has highlighted that the surveyed investors have a clear and strong preference for feed-in tariffs over other policy instruments. This limits the variance of the policy type variable and its consequent effect on investment choices. This is tantamount to saying that, regardless of the technological choices they make, the investors in our sample believe that feed-in tariffs are by far the most effective policy instruments to attract investments in renewable energy technologies. A high perceived importance of the level of support is negatively associated with the share of renewable energy in the investment portfolio (β=−1.29 with p=0.01), suggesting that investors implicitly believe that the level of support currently allocated to renewable energy technologies is still inadequate. Conversely, and in sharp contrast with the above result, a high perceived importance of the duration of the support is positively associated with the renewable energy share (β=1.32 with p=0.04), suggesting that investors implicitly believe that the time horizon of the policies currently in place is not inadequate. These results seem to reinforce the impression that investors in our sample are extremely risk averse and have a rather short horizon when they evaluate investment opportunities. Short term policies that provide high levels of financial incentives for a limited amount of time are strongly preferred over long term policies that guarantee a moderate but stable level of support for a longer amount of time. This finding should be interpreted with care, because the sample is skewed toward venture capital and private equity funds, which have rather short-term investment horizons. A segmentation analysis revealed indeed that, for some particular categories of investors such as infrastructure funds and project developers, the incentive level has a relatively lower importance, while other policy attributes such as the type of support scheme and the duration of support play a more important role in shaping the investors’ preferences. The analysis of the performance model reveals that higher shares of renewable energy technologies in the investment portfolio are associated with a slightly higher performance relative to direct competitors (β=0.05 with p=0.04). This provides evidence against the conventional wisdom that investments in renewable energy technologies yield lower returns compared to investments in conventional energy systems. It is also interesting to note that the investors’ attitude towards technological risk has a strong negative impact on the investment performance. This effect is both direct and indirect through its impact on the renewable energy share in the investment portfolio. Once again, this reinforces the impression that the surveyed investors display aversion not only for financial risk, but also for technological risk. One possible explanation for this result is related to the fact that the majority of respondents in our sample have rather limited experience in the renewable energy sector. Since investors have not accumulated enough experience in an industry that is very promising, but also risky, they might fail to analyse investment opportunities in a proper way, thus privileging short term returns instead of embarking in projects that might guarantee superior returns in the long run. 6. Main conclusions and implications for theory and practice 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. However, huge additional investments are needed to realize this potential: the draft Copenhagen Climate Treaty issued by several NGOs calls for a doubling of market investments by 2012 and quadrupling by 2020 to attain the proposed carbon emission reduction targets (Meyer et al., 2009). Needless to say, this is particularly challenging in a context of global economic slowdown such as the one the world is currently experiencing. 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, 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 behavioural context in which investors make decisions, they were unable to leverage some of the true drivers of the investment decision process. In a market economy, the effectiveness of policies aimed at mobilizing renewable energy investments is critically dependent upon their impact on investors’ behaviours. To maximize the impact of future policies, policy makers need to get a better understanding of how investors behave, and of how they take their decisions, particularly in regards to the key 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 policy literature. This paper represents one of the first attempts to fill in this gap. Drawing upon studies in behavioural finance, we have put forth a theoretical model that examines how investors a-priori beliefs, their preferences over policy instruments and their attitude toward technological risk affect the decision to invest in renewable energy projects and, in turn, the performance of the investments. Our analysis has brought some interesting findings to light. In particular, it has revealed that a priori beliefs on the technical effectiveness of the investment opportunities play a much more important role than market beliefs in driving investments, implicitly suggesting that agents consider the proven reliability of a technology as a necessary condition for investing in it, whilst 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 have a strong preference for short term policies that provide high levels of financial incentives for a limited amount of time over long term policies that guarantee a moderate but stable support for a longer time. The paper makes a contribution to the energy policy, strategic management and behavioural finance literatures, and has some important implications for managerial practice. Firstly, the incorporation of cognitive and behavioural elements into the analysis of policy effectiveness is an important theoretical contribution and produces a more accurate description of the relationship between policies and investment. By providing a better understanding of investors’ behaviours, the research will help policy makers design more effective policy instruments to support the market deployment of sustainable energy technologies. The study also contributes to the theory of social acceptance of renewable energy innovation. As observed by Wüstenhagen et al. (2007), while factors influencing socio-political and community acceptance are increasingly recognized as being important in the understanding of policy effectiveness, market acceptance has received less attention so far. By investigating investors’ acceptance of climate and energy policies, the present research contributes to fill in this gap. Finally, our results appear also relevant for practitioners in the sustainable energy market. A priory beliefs and cognitive biases create additional risk elements that restrain the likelihood of raising capital for clean energy investments. The analysis of these elements as opposed to more rational risk factors can help investors get a more balanced view of policy risks and opportunities in this promising business sector. Like most research, our study is not exempt from limitations. First, the results may be difficult to generalize because the study was restricted to a specific empirical context and the sample is skewed toward venture capitalists and private equity funds. Second, the variables used in the model to measure portfolio performance are self assessed and measured by means of a three-point likert scale. This choice was dictated by the results of the pre-test, which revealed that investors were reluctant to disclose any performance-related information beyond a mere first order assessment of their ranking with respect to peers (below, in line with, above). Although we have controlled the presence of CMV and re-estimated the performance equation through a multinomial logit model, the use of objective, quantitative measures of performance would have been ideal and remains necessary to further validate our findings. Third, 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. Finally, we could not exclude a priori the presence of a reverse causal relationship between investment performance and the share of renewables in the investment portfolio. Over time, we would expect that rational investors who obtained above-average returns by adding renewables to their portfolios, will also tend to increase the share of RE in their portfolios in the next investment round. Fully disentangling this reverse causality would require the availability of longitudinal data, which, unfortunately, were not available for this study. We expect to address some of these issues in follow-up works.