The Role of R&D+i in the Energy Sector

Secure, reliable and affordable energy supplies are fundamental to economic stability and development. The current energy prospects are however unsustainable: concerns about energy security, the threat of disruptive climate changes and the growing energy needs of the developing world pose major challenges to energy decision makers. The aim of this paper is twofold. On one hand, it wishes to provide an analysis of the status and future prospects of key energy technologies, which is developed in part one. On the other hand, it will give a picture of the magnitude of past and current energy R&D activity (part two). To this end, we make extensive use of publicly available data sources and of recent reports and descriptive analyses of energy-related R&D. Review of past and current spending in energy-related R&D investment will help put in perspective the effort necessary to “walk the talk” of addressing climate change and energy issues. Although the data available allows only to a paint a partial picture with respect to R&D+i, both public and private energy-related investment and patenting seem to be responding to the call for higher innovation in less carbon-intensive (or carbon-free) technologies.

  • A. Lanza and E. Verdolini (2011), “The Role of R&D+i in the Energy Sector”, in I. Galarraga , M. González-Eguino and A. Markandya (eds.) Handbook Of Sustainable Energy, Edward Elgar Publishing.