Technology Roadmapping, An Efficient Tool for Driving Regional Technological Changes: Case of Energy Efficiency in the NorthWest US

Technology Roadmapping, An Efficient Tool for Driving Regional Technological Changes: Case of Energy Efficiency in the NorthWest US

Tugrul Daim (Portland State University, USA), Terry Oliver (US Department of Energy, USA), Ibrahim Iskin (Portland State University, USA) and Jisun Kim (US Department of Energy, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-344-7.ch005


Technology has played a central role in the Northwest’s development, from the Federal Columbia River Power System to technology giants like Boeing, Microsoft and Intel to thousands of businesses, universities and laboratories. In the Northwest, irrigation is high tech. This savvy has allowed the region to meet half of its load growth through cost-effective investments in energy efficiency for more than thirty years. Through the leadership of the region’s utilities, labs, universities, energy organizations and private businesses, the Northwest has been able to successfully deliver energy efficiency as a reliable resource. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Sixth Power Plan calls for roughly 85 percent of the region’s power needs to be met with energy efficiency by 2030. In order to meet these goals, we must find ways to increase the adoption rates of existing products and services. At the same time, we must also strategically target the region’s research and development resources into efforts that will produce the technologies needed to enable the products of tomorrow. Beginning in December 2009, thirty-five experts from twenty organizations pooled their efforts to develop an energy efficiency technology roadmap that would define a research agenda for the Northwest. The results of the intensive ten-week effort, along with revisions based on critical comments received following the release of a Northwest Energy Efficiency Technology Roadmap.
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As energy demand increases, energy efficiency has become very critical. Effective energy efficiency programs. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines energy efficiency as “products or systems using less energy to do the same or better job than conventional products or systems”.

Energy efficiency gap or energy efficiency paradox is a widely used term in energy efficiency literature. Basically, energy efficiency gap refers to slow adoption rate of cost effective energy efficient technologies (Shama, 1983) and related to that, market barriers are those factors that cause this particular situation to happen (Jaffe & Stavins, 1994). Another contribution to definition of barriers has been made by Weber (1997) who has developed a series of questions to determine existence of barriers. These questions are;

  • What is the barrier to adoption of a specific technology?

  • Who or what is that barrier an obstacle to?

  • What does that barrier prevent the actors reaching from?

In the literature it has been observed that optimal energy efficiency gap has been defined quite differently depending on the perception of the experts. A well known energy efficiency study conducted by Jaffe and Stavins (1994) gathers different perspectives’ definitions of energy efficiency gap with respect to market and non-market failures, environmental externalities and discount rates. Accordingly, Jaffe and Stavins (1994) have identified five optimality points which are named as the economists’ economic potential, the technologists’ economic potential, hypothetical potential, the narrow social optimum and the true social optimum. Please refer to Figure 1 for the graphical representation of each optimality point.

Figure 1.

Technology Roadmaps for Different Markets of 3D Display Products


The economists’ economic energy efficiency potential is stated to be achieved by eliminating only the market failures associated with energy efficient technologies where as the technologists’ economic energy efficiency potential is achieved by eliminating both market and non-market failures associated with low adoption rates. Hypothetical energy efficiency potential which is the maximum potential of all perspectives is stated to be achieved by eliminating all market and non-market failures not only related to adoption decisions but also related to whole energy market. By considering market externalities in defining energy efficiency potential, Jaffe and Stavins (1994) have also drawn the connection between efficiency gap and public policy. Accordingly, narrow social optimum is stated to be achieved by eliminating only the market failures whose elimination can pass cost/benefit ratio test however, due to existence of external costs associated with energy markets a more comprehensive optimality point which is true social optimum is proposed. True social optimum is stated to be achieved by eliminating both cost/benefit justified market failures and environmental externalities such as green house gas emissions and its negative effects. Example policies based on inclusion of environmental externalities can be given as white certificates in EU and carbon trade in the US which are recently becoming politically and socially more and more supported.

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