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Higher R&D Investment for Renewable technologies Crucial for Clean-Energy Innovation - 15th May

R&D Investment

Global investment in renewable energy technologies rose nearly 17% in 2014 with the greatest increases being seen in developing countries as investment grew by 36%. This emphasises the positive role that renewable energy needs to play in the transition to low-carbon economies.

Despite this rise, renewable energy only accounts for 9% of the world’s electricity generation. There is a need to increase this figure through ‘private and public investment incentives and pricing carbon markets’. Research and development (R&D) spending on renewable technologies rose to $11.7 billion, with $5.1 billion coming from government R&D and the other $6.6 billion coming from private investments.

Splitting these figures down shows that Europe remains the largest ‘green’ investor, spending $4.3 billion on R&D, whilst the Chinese government maintains the greatest governmental investment ($1.7 billion).

R&D investment globally will lead to technical progress consequently improving efficiency and effectiveness with the end goal of reducing costs to renewable technologies. R&D efforts must focus on the most promising technologies which puts a great impetus on private sector investment. Simple subsidies will only lead to short term expansion of renewable technologies therefore global policymakers should focus on R&D investment rather than shelling out subsidies due to the technological maturity of the renewable energy sector.

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