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Accelerating Energy Innovation: Insights from Multiple Sectors

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  • Rebecca M. Henderson
  • Richard G. Newell

Abstract

Re-orienting current energy systems toward a far greater reliance on technologies with low or no carbon dioxide emissions is an immense challenge. At the broadest level the histories presented here are very much consistent with widely held views within the energy innovation policy literature. In general, this literature has suggested that greatly increasing rates of energy innovation requires creating significant demand for low carbon technologies, substantially increased federal funding for "well-managed" research, and in at least some cases support for the initial deployment of new technologies. As the other markets explored in this volume do not face the same degree of unpriced environmental externality, there is no straightforward equivalent to a carbon price in the history of agriculture, chemicals, IT or biopharmaceuticals. Nonetheless, our authors outline a number of ways in which public policy has often stimulated demand, particularly in the early stages of a technology's evolution, and confirm that the expectation of rapidly growing demand appears to have been a major stimulus to private sector investment in innovation. Each history also confirms the centrality of publicly funded research to the generation of innovation, particularly in the early stages of an industry's history, and highlights a range of institutional mechanisms that have enabled it to be simultaneously path breaking and directly connected to industrial practice. Our histories depart somewhat from the bulk of the energy innovation policy literature in focusing attention on the role of vigorous competition - particularly entry - in stimulating innovation, suggesting that in several industries a mix of public policies - including procurement, antitrust and intellectual property protection - played an important role in stimulating innovation by encouraging extensive competition and entry by newly founded firms. Many of the most innovative industries profiled here have been characteri
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  • Rebecca M. Henderson & Richard G. Newell, 2011. "Accelerating Energy Innovation: Insights from Multiple Sectors," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number hend09-1.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberbk:hend09-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Popp, David & Newell, Richard G. & Jaffe, Adam B., 2010. "Energy, the Environment, and Technological Change," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 873-937, Elsevier.
    2. Duggan Mark G & Evans William N, 2008. "Estimating the Impact of Medical Innovation: A Case Study of HIV Antiretroviral Treatments," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-39, January.
    3. Pardey, Philip G. & James, Jennifer S. & Alston, Julian M. & Wood, Stanley & Koo, Bonwoo & Binenbaum, Eran & Hurley, Terrance M. & Glewwe, Paul & Mayer, Jorge & Jones, Richard & De Groote, Hugo & Kana, 2007. "Science, Technology and Skills," Reports 136256, University of Minnesota, International Science and Technology Practice and Policy.
    4. Philippe Aghion & Nick Bloom & Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & Peter Howitt, 2005. "Competition and Innovation: an Inverted-U Relationship," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 701-728.
    5. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2003. "Computing Productivity: Firm-Level Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 793-808, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert K. Perrons & Adam B. Jaffe & Trinh Le, 2020. "Tracing the Linkages Between Scientific Research and Energy Innovations: A Comparison of Clean and Dirty Technologies," NBER Working Papers 27777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Costa-Campi, M.T. & Duch-Brown, N. & García-Quevedo, J., 2014. "R&D drivers and obstacles to innovation in the energy industry," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 20-30.
    3. Costa-Campi, M.T. & Duch-Brown, N. & García-Quevedo, J., 2014. "R&D drivers and obstacles to innovation in the energy industry," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 20-30.
    4. Candelise, Chiara & Winskel, Mark & Gross, Robert J.K., 2013. "The dynamics of solar PV costs and prices as a challenge for technology forecasting," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 96-107.
    5. Winskel, Mark & Radcliffe, Jonathan & Skea, Jim & Wang, Xinxin, 2014. "Remaking the UK's energy technology innovation system: From the margins to the mainstream," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 591-602.
    6. Kristina M. Lybecker, 2014. "Innovation and Technology Dissemination in Clean Technology Markets and The Developing World: The Role of Trade, Intellectual Property Rights, and Uncertainty," Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation, Fundacja Upowszechniająca Wiedzę i Naukę "Cognitione", vol. 10(2), pages 7-38.
    7. Aktoty Aitzhanova & Shigeo Katsu & Johannes F. Linn & Vladislav Yezhov (ed.), 2014. "Kazakhstan 2050: Toward a Modern Society for All," Books, Emerging Markets Forum, edition 1, number kazakh2050, July-Dece.
    8. Jin, Wei & Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2014. "Explaining the Slow Pace of Energy Technological Innovation Why Market Conditions Matter?," Energy: Resources and Markets 165758, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    9. Luís M A Bettencourt & Jessika E Trancik & Jasleen Kaur, 2013. "Determinants of the Pace of Global Innovation in Energy Technologies," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 8(10), pages 1-6, October.
    10. Wei Jin & ZhongXiang Zhang, 2017. "The tragedy of product homogeneity and knowledge non-spillovers: explaining the slow pace of energy technological progress," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 255(1), pages 639-661, August.
    11. Dominique Foray, 2019. "On sector-non-neutral innovation policy: towards new design principles," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 29(5), pages 1379-1397, November.

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    Book Chapters

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation

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