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Chapter 24 - Policies for the Energy Technology Innovation System (ETIS)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2012

Arnulf Grubler
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria and Yale University
Francisco Aguayo
El Colegio de México
Kelly Gallagher
Tufts University
Marko Hekkert
Utrecht University
Kejun Jiang
Energy Research Institute
Lynn Mytelka
United Nations University-MERIT
Lena Neij
Lund University
Gregory Nemet
University of Wisconsin
Charlie Wilson
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Per Dannemand Andersen
Technical University of Denmark
Leon Clarke
University of Maryland
Laura Diaz Anadon
Harvard University
Sabine Fuss
International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis
Martin Jakob
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Daniel Kammen
University of California
Ruud Kempener
Harvard University
Osamu Kimura
Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry
Bernadette Kiss
Lund University
Anastasia O'Rourke
Big Room Inc.
Robert N. Schock
World Energy Council, UK and Center for Global Security Research
Paulo Teixeira de Sousa Jr.
Federal University Mato Grosso
Leena Srivastava
The Energy and Resources Institute
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Executive Summary

Innovation and technological change are integral to the energy system transformations described in the Global Energy Assessment (GEA) pathways. Energy technology innovations range from incremental improvements to radical breakthroughs and from technologies and infrastructure to social institutions and individual behaviors. This Executive Summary synthesizes the main policy-relevant findings of Chapter 24. Specific positive policy examples or key takehome messages are highlighted in italics.

The innovation process involves many stages – from research through to incubation, demonstration, (niche) market creation, and ultimately, widespread diffusion. Feedbacks between these stages influence progress and likely success, yet innovation outcomes are unavoidably uncertain. Innovations do not happen in isolation; interdependence and complexity are the rule under an increasingly globalized innovation system. Any emphasis on particular technologies or parts of the energy system, or technology policy that emphasizes only particular innovation stages or processes (e.g., an exclusive focus on energy supply from renewables, or an exclusive focus on Research and Development [R&D], or feed-in tariffs) is inadequate given the magnitude and multitude of challenges represented by the GEA objectives.

A first, even if incomplete, assessment of the entire global resource mobilization (investments) in both energy supply and demand-side technologies and across different innovation stages suggests current annual Research, Development & Demonstration (RD&D) investments of some US$50 billion, market formation investments (which rely on directed public policy support) of some US$150 billion, and an estimated US$1 trillion to US$5 trillion investments in mature energy supply and end-use technologies (technology diffusion).

Global Energy Assessment
Toward a Sustainable Future
, pp. 1665 - 1744
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

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