Untapped Potential

―Results and Policy Implications from Japan’s First Large-Scale Behavioral Energy Efficiency Pilot Study―

June 15, 2016 6:30 PM (finished)

Ken Haig

(Opower; Hokkaido University)

Date/Time June 15, 2016 6:30 PM
Location Room 549 5th floor, Akamon Sogo Kenkyuto Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo  [map]
Abstract As Japan grapples with tight electricity supplies, liberalization of gas and electricity markets, and continuing pressures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency (EE) has become an ever-more pressing policy imperative--in particular, the need to look beyond traditional hardware-driven approaches to more behavior-driven approaches to promoting EE. While behavioral EE programs have become increasingly standard in the U.S. and elsewhere, there had previously been no large-scale test of how "nudge" approaches affect energy consumption in Japan. Seeking to learn from international best practices, the Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry (METI) recently commissioned Japan's first large-scale randomized control trial (RCT) of behavioral EE, involving 40,000 households (20,000 treatment, 20,000 control) across Hokuriku Electric Power Company’s service territory. This paper examines the Hokuriku pilot study results in comparison with similar studies conducted in the U.S. and other countries, as well as the policy implications for Japan going forward.
Bio Dr. Ken Haig is Director of Regulatory Affairs in Japan for Opower, an NYSE-listed company that provides data and software services to utilities to help them work with customers to manage energy consumption and improve customer satisfaction. He is also a Research Associate at Hokkaido University's Graduate School of Public Policy, as well as Co-Chair of the Energy Committee at the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ). Prior to joining Opower, Ken was an Assistant Professor of Political Studies at Bard College, and has been an Abe Fellow and Fulbright Fellow, as well as an inaugural member of the Mansfield Foundation's US-Japan Network for the Future. Ken holds a B.A. in History from Harvard University, and a Masters and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.