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5.2 ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS
The world is currently going through an ‘Energy Transition’ and it is changing how our economies, culture and society operate. The research presented in this thesis emanates from large scale changes and is investigated through three distinct research papers, with separate but interlinked themes. Research paper 1 (Chapter 2) profiles households that have adopted of micro renewable energy systems (micro-RES) and examines whether micro-RES installations have impacted energy consumption based on data from the Irish Household Budget Survey. Our findings indicate that some revision of energy policy is needed, as the presence of micro-RES doesn’t affect total energy usage. Research paper 2 (Chapter 3) investigates how the success of solar PV has given rise to a positive feedback cycle in the residential electricity market, whereby increased customer adoption results in reduced demand from utility providers. This leads to price increases and further incentivises customers to adopt solar PV. Empirical findings indicate strong support for the idea of a positive feedback cycle using data from the UK, Australian and Irish Markets. This reinforces the need for stakeholders to consider this issue in framing future energy policies to ensure that the adoption of solar PV is supported in a sustainable way, while not punishing non-adopters with higher electricity rates. Research paper 3 (Chapter 4) employs a new multidimensional measurement to gauge the extent of fuel poverty in the USA. For the three coldest regions in the USA, we find that 12% (New England), 13% (East North Central) & 9% (West North Central) of households are fuel poor. Empirical findings show that the odds of being fuel poor are higher for households with elderly people and children present. These results have useful implications for policy formation and targeting appropriate supports to address this issue.
Chesser, M. (2019) Essays in Energy Economics and Policy, Doctoral Thesis, Technological University Dublin.