IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Managing R&D Risk in Renewable Energy


  • Rausser, Gordon C.
  • Papineau, Maya


Federal renewable energy R&D spending is intended, at least in part, to achieve path-breaking commercial breakthroughs in ethanol, hydrogen, solar and wind energy. Recently, the private sector has begun to respond to market opportunities generated by the spike in oil prices and governmental support with significant increases in renewable energy investment. As firms increase their exposure in renewable energy markets, the public sector will be increasingly be pulled in the direction of insuring against the downside risks of clean energy investments. A central question arises in this context: what is the optimal ex-ante allocation of renewable energy R&D investment across the emerging technologies? From the standpoint of societal welfare, the optimal allocation of such support is fundamentally a problem of ex-ante portfolio analysis under risk and uncertainty. This paper presents the components of an ex-ante portfolio analysis of both public and private sector R&D risks in renewable energy.

Suggested Citation

  • Rausser, Gordon C. & Papineau, Maya, 2008. "Managing R&D Risk in Renewable Energy," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt41j9f6ks, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt41j9f6ks

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:;origin=repeccitec
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Davis, Graham A. & Owens, Brandon, 2003. "Optimizing the level of renewable electric R&D expenditures using real options analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(15), pages 1589-1608, December.
    2. Gordon C. Rausser & Arthur A. Small, 2000. "Valuing Research Leads: Bioprospecting and the Conservation of Genetic Resources," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(1), pages 173-206, February.
    3. Gordon Rausser, 1999. "Private/Public Research: Knowledge Assets and Future Scenarios," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1011-1027.
    4. Papineau, Maya, 2006. "An economic perspective on experience curves and dynamic economies in renewable energy technologies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 422-432, March.
    5. Ethridge, Don, 1973. "The Inclusion of Wastes in the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(6), pages 1430-1441, Nov.-Dec..
    6. Ayres, Robert U & Kneese, Allen V, 1969. "Production , Consumption, and Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 282-297, June.
    7. Garth Heutel, 2014. "Crowding Out and Crowding In of Private Donations and Government Grants," Public Finance Review, , vol. 42(2), pages 143-175, March.
    8. Popp, David, 2006. "ENTICE-BR: The effects of backstop technology R&D on climate policy models," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 188-222, March.
    9. Rausser, Gordon C. & Goodhue, Rachael E., 2002. "Public policy: Its many analytical dimensions," Handbook of Agricultural Economics,in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 39, pages 2057-2102 Elsevier.
    10. Nemet, Gregory F. & Kammen, Daniel M., 2007. "U.S. energy research and development: Declining investment, increasing need, and the feasibility of expansion," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 746-755, January.
    11. A. Payne, 2001. "Measuring the Effect of Federal Research Funding on Private Donations at Research Universities: Is Federal Research Funding More than a Substitute for Private Donations?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 8(5), pages 731-751, November.
    12. Pethig, Rudiger, 2006. "Non-linear production, abatement, pollution and materials balance reconsidered," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 185-204, March.
    13. Cropper, Maureen L & Oates, Wallace E, 1992. "Environmental Economics: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 675-740, June.
    14. Somerville, Chris, 2007. "Development of Cellulosic Biofuels (PowerPoint)," Agricultural Outlook Forum 2007 8105, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Outlook Forum.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt41j9f6ks. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.