World Needs to Triple Spending on Clean Energy Innovation, Says IEA

MIT isn’t the only group pushing for more innovation on renewable energy technologies, so is the International Energy Agency (IEA). 

In fact, it is the only way the world can stay below a 2 degree C rise in global temperature, they say in Energy Technology Perspectives 2015.

"We are setting ourselves environmental and energy access targets that rely on better technologies. Today’s annual government spending on energy research and development is estimated to be $17 billion. Tripling this level, as we recommend, requires governments and the private sector to work closely together and shift their focus to low-carbon technologies," says Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven.

While onshore wind and solar PV are "ready to be mainstreamed in many energy systems" we need innovation on enabling technologies that better integrate them into the grid, such as energy storage and smart grid infrastructure.

Alevo opens North Carolina factory for grid-scale energy storage products:

Energy Storage Gridbank

"The shale gas and shale oil boom of the last few years was virtually unthinkable at the dawn of this century," she says. "If we only stick to the beaten path of today, we will miss the game-changers of tomorrow."

While we are beginning to see the tie between energy consumption and economic growth breaking, we need to move this along at double the pace.  

Government spending on energy R&D has been growing in absolute terms since the late 1990s, but as a percentage of total R&D it is way down. Since peaking at 11% in 1981, R&D has remained flat at 3-4% since 2000, says IEA.

Read our article, Shout It From the Rooftops! No Emissions Rise in 2014.

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