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Jim Skea

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Anja Schaefer, Andrew Coulson, Ken Green, Steve New and Jim Skea

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Energy Innovation for the Twenty-First Century

Accelerating the Energy Revolution

Jim Skea, Renée van Diemen, Matthew Hannon, Evangelos Gazis and Aidan Rhodes

This book addresses the question: how effective are countries in promoting the innovation needed to facilitate an energy transition? At the heart of the book is a set of empirical case studies covering supply and demand side technologies at different levels of maturity in a variety of countries. The case studies are set within an analytical framework encompassing the functions of technological innovation systems and innovation metrics. The book concludes with lessons and recommendations for effective policy intervention.
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Jim Skea, Renée van Diemen, Matthew Hannon, Evangelos Gazis and Aidan Rhodes

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Jim Skea, Renée van Diemen, Matthew Hannon, Evangelos Gazis and Aidan Rhodes

The energy sector is going through a process of transformational change. This follows a period of incremental technical change and relatively smooth growth. Governments are attempting to steer the direction of the energy sector, primarily to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. This leads to support for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Transformational change in the sector is also being enabled by advances in underlying science and technology including digitalisation and the material sciences. Some energy innovation, notably that supported by the public sector, is driving radical change; much private-sector research and development tends to reinforce the existing paradigm by driving down costs. There are controversies about the rationale for energy innovation support and the role of the public sector.

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Jim Skea, Renée van Diemen, Matthew Hannon, Evangelos Gazis and Aidan Rhodes

Global energy demand is rising by about 2 per cent per year. The global energy system is still dominated by fossil fuels. Energy demand has saturated in developed countries but is growing rapidly in emerging economies. Supply security has been a driver of energy policy in the past, but the mitigation of climate change is now a key consideration. Scenarios and projections of future global energy systems tend to agree that renewables and natural gas will expand in the medium term. There is less agreement about coal and oil largely because of uncertainty about the success of future climate policy. The falling cost and rising deployment of renewable energy, plus the shale revolution in the United States, have been defining features of the global energy system over the last decade.

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Jim Skea, Renée van Diemen, Matthew Hannon, Evangelos Gazis and Aidan Rhodes

Institutional frameworks, regulatory structure and policies can have a significant impact on energy-sector developments. This chapter examines the main countries relevant to the case studies in this book and examines the current status of their energy institutions, their historic developments and current policy issues and challenges. Many of the trends and drivers that have shaped energy activities, such as market liberalisation and climate change, are global in character. However, responses to these forces at the country level have been shaped by national circumstances. This chapter emphasises the long-term historic factors that have shaped current arrangements.

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Jim Skea, Renée van Diemen, Matthew Hannon, Evangelos Gazis and Aidan Rhodes

Innovation in science and technology in general has a large impact on energy innovation. This chapter examines the main countries relevant to the case studies in this book and examines the current status of their science and innovation institutions and policies. Without exception, all of the countries examined in this book value innovation as a major contributor to growth. This is especially so given the expanding contribution of knowledge-based activities in the economy. However, the countries differ in terms of the level of resource, both public and private, devoted to innovation, the balance of resources devoted to different innovation stages and the character of their innovation institutions.

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Jim Skea, Renée van Diemen, Matthew Hannon, Evangelos Gazis and Aidan Rhodes

The attention given to energy innovation has evolved over the past few decades, with the public and private sectors both investing in energy-sector technologies. This chapter examines the main countries relevant to the case studies in this book and examines the current status of their energy innovation institutions and policies. The priority attached to energy research, development and demonstration reflects the level of geopolitical attention to the energy sector. Private-sector research and development is largely focused on improving the extraction processes and costs associated with fossil fuels. In contrast, government efforts are directed largely towards transformation of the energy sector focusing on renewables, nuclear, efficiency and energy infrastructure. These drivers and motivations influence the direction of energy innovation and the type of support provided.

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Jim Skea, Renée van Diemen, Matthew Hannon, Evangelos Gazis and Aidan Rhodes

Theory that helps explain the process and causal factors of energy technology innovation has its roots in concepts pioneered by Schumpeter 100 years ago. Since then a number of complementary strands of theory have emerged to explain how and why energy technology innovation unfolds. This chapter lays the theoretical underpinnings of the book, offering a broad conceptualisation of innovation, before unpacking the theory of innovation systems and socio-technical transitions. Bringing together theoretical concepts from technology innovation systems and the multi-level perspective, we outline the book’s analytical framework to help interpret the results from the technology case studies and form recommendations for energy technology innovation policy. It ends with a discussion on how quantitative metrics can be used to assess the performance of energy innovation systems and diagnose potential weaknesses.