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Working Paper

When and how to support renewables? Letting the data speak

Low-carbon energy technologies are pivotal for decarbonising our economies up to 2050 while ensuring secure and affordable energy. Consequently, innovation that reduces the cost of low-carbon energy would play an important role in reducing transition costs. We assess the two most prominent innovation policy instruments (i) public research, development and demonstration (RD&D) subsidies and (ii) public deployment policies.

By: , and Date: February 5, 2014 Topic: Energy & Climate

See also blog post ‘Does Europe need a renewables target?

Low-carbon energy technologies are pivotal for decarbonising our economies up to 2050 while ensuring secure and affordable energy. Consequently, innovation that reduces the cost of low-carbon energy would play an important role in reducing transition costs. We assess the two most prominent innovation policy instruments (i) public research, development and demonstration (RD&D) subsidies and (ii) public deployment policies.

Our results indicate that both deployment and RD&D coincide with increasing knowledge generation and the improved competitiveness of renewable energy technologies. We find that both support schemes together have a greater effect that they would individually, that RD&D support is unsurprisingly more effective in driving patents and that timing matters. Current wind deployment based on past wind RD&D spending coincides best with wind patenting. If we look into competitiveness we find a similar picture, with the greatest effect coming from deployment.

Finally, we find significant cross-border effects, especially for winddeployment. Increased deployment in one country coincides with increased patenting in nearby countries.

Based on our findings we argue that both deployment and RD&D support are needed to create innovation in renewable energy technologies. However, we worry that current support is unbalanced. Public spending on deployment has been two orders of magnitude larger (in 2010 about €48 billion in the five largest EU countries in 2010) than spending on RD&D support (about €315 million). Consequently, basing the policy mix more on empirical evidence could increase the efficiency of innovation policy targeted towards renewable energy technologies

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Podcast

Podcast

The political economy of climate transition

Is the green deal a strategy for growth or simply a reallocation mechanism?

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Energy & Climate Date: December 2, 2020
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Paris Reinforce: Central Asia and Caspian region Stakeholder Discussion Series

New Paris Reinforce workshop with focus on Central Asian and Caspian (CAC) region.

Speakers: Gabriele Cassetti, Rocco De Miglio, Haris Doukas and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
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Working Paper

Understanding the European Union’s regional potential in low-carbon technologies

This research identifies existing and potential specialisation in green technologies in European Union regions, and proposes an approach to identify policies that can help to realise this potential.

By: Enrico Bergamini and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Date: November 26, 2020
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Policy Contribution

Green certificates: a better version of green bonds

"The current design of green bonds means they aren't fulfilling their potential. We propose an alternative: issuance of regular bonds with attached green certificates that ensure earmarking for green purposes. The new design would reduce financing costs and in turn would provide incentives to start a greater number of environmentally-friendly projects."

By: Dion Bongaerts and Dirk Schoenmaker Topic: Energy & Climate, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: November 26, 2020
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Creating the conditions for the most promising low-carbon sectors to grow is the most efficient way to enable decarbonisation. As sector potential is regional and associated with regions' current strengths in related technologies, policy should aim to boost the growth potential of low-carbon technologies on a regional level.

By: Enrico Bergamini and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Date: November 23, 2020
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Past Event

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Speakers: Cyril Garcia, Kerstin Jorna, Ann Mettler, Peter Sweatman and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: November 19, 2020
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Past Event

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Reforming the ETS: what to make of revenues?

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Speakers: Jean Pisani-Ferry, Sébastien Postic, Jakub Sawulski, Beatriz Yordi Aguirre and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: November 12, 2020
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Opinion

2021 can be a climate breakthrough, but Biden and Europe need to talk

"2021 can be a breakthrough year for climate: the new US administration and the EU have a real opportunity, through a ‘global net zero coalition’, to remove some of the key bottlenecks in the global path to climate neutrality."

By: Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Date: November 9, 2020
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External Publication

Perspective of comprehensive and comprehensible multi-model energy and climate science in Europe

A comprehensive and comprehensible multi-model framework offers a real example of “collective” science diplomacy, as an instrument to further support the ambitious goals of the EU Green Deal, in compliance with the EU claim to responsible research.

By: Alexandros Nikas, Ajay Gambhir, Evelina Trutnevyte, Konstantinos Koasidis, Henrik Lund, Jakob Zinck Thellufsen, Didier Mayer, Georg Zachmann, Luis Javier Miguel, Noelia Ferreras Alonso, Ida Sognnæs, Glen Peters, Enzo Colombo, Mark Howells, Adam D. Hawkes, Machteld Van Den Broek, Dirk-Jan van de Ven, Mikel Gonzalez-Eguino, Alexandros Flamos and Haris Doukas Topic: Energy & Climate Date: November 5, 2020
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What are current greenhouse gas mitigation scenarios commonly proposed for India?

Speakers: Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Date: November 3, 2020
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Opinion

Understanding the world of tomorrow through the great challenges of energy and climate change

“Only a broad policy framework – taking into account economic, fiscal, industrial, labour, innovation and social policy issues – can address the challenges of the climate crisis in a balanced way.”

By: Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Date: October 26, 2020
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Blog Post

The European climate law needs a strong just transition fund

To deliver on the goals of the European climate law, the European Union needs finally to get coal out of its energy mix: the EU should quicken the pace of decarbonisation whilst delivering on its goal of social inclusion.

By: Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Date: October 6, 2020
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