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The Energy Innovation System

The Energy Innovation System

A Historical Perspective

(p.25) 1 The Energy Innovation System
Accelerating Energy Innovation
Richard G. Newell
University of Chicago Press

This chapter reviews the record of innovation in energy technology. Innovation policy has been most efficient in the energy arena when it has complemented rather than attempted to directly substitute for market demand. By eliciting technological innovation through policies and regulations, governments in the developed world have been quite effective. Very substantial improvements in efficiency and environmental performance have been achieved across a wide array of energy production and end-use technologies in response to various standards and other requirements. A number of studies over the past several years have also evaluated the performance of federal energy research and development (R&D) programs. The scale of the climate technology problem and other energy challenges suggests a solution that maximizes the impact of the scarce resources available for addressing these and other critical societal goals. Evidences indicate that an emissions price and R&D approach could provide the basic framework for such a solution. The energy sector is vast and highly complex, but the chapter nonetheless sketches out some “central tendencies” that provide important background.

Keywords:   innovation system, research and development, policy making, energy systems, technology

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