Discussion Paper

Technology Adoption and Aggregate Energy Efficiency

Abstract

Improved technology is often cited as a means to alter the otherwise difficult trade-off between the economic burden of regulation and environmental damage. Focusing on energy-saving technologies that mitigate the threat of climate change, we find that both energy prices and financial health influence technology adoption among a sample of industrial plants in four heavily polluting sectors. Based on a model linking technology adoption to growth in aggregate efficiency, we estimate that a doubling of energy prices, after raising the growth rate to 2.1%, would require slightly more than 50 years to generate a 50% improvement in aggregate efficiency relative to the baseline forecast.