Accelerating energy innovation for decarbonization hinges on public investment in research, development and demonstration (RD&D). Here we examine the evolution and variation of public energy RD&D funding and institutions and associated drivers across eight major economies, including China and India (2000–2018). The share of new clean energy grew at the expense of nuclear, while the fossil fuel RD&D share remained stable. Governments created new institutions but experimented only marginally with novel designs that bridge lab to market to accelerate commercialization. In theory, crisis, cooperation and competition can be drivers of change. We find that cooperation in Mission Innovation is associated with punctuated change in clean-energy RD&D growth, and clean tech competition with China is associated with gradual change. Stimulus spending after the financial crisis, instead, boosted fossil and nuclear only. Looking ahead, global coopetition—the interplay of RD&D cooperation and clean tech competition—offers opportunities for accelerating energy innovation to meet climate goals.
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Meckling, J., Galeazzi, C., Shears, E., Xu, T., & Anadon, L. D. (2022). Energy innovation funding and institutions in major economies. Nature energy, 7(9), 876-885. doi:10.1038/s41560-022-01117-3.
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