An Unprecedented Push for Low-Carbon Energy Innovation

Expert Perspectives on R&D Opportunities for Mission Innovation

Mason Inman, Daniel L. Sanchez, Michael D. Mastrandrea, Steven J. Davis, Karen Fries
Monday, June 6, 2016

In May 2016, ahead of the 7th Clean Energy Ministerial and the inaugural Mission Innovation Ministerial, Near Zero gathered perspectives from experts in Mission Innovation countries to explore opportunities for further low-carbon energy R&D. Mission Innovation's unprecedented cooperative effort could raise governmental spending on low-carbon energy R&D to an all-time high and provide a stream of sustained innovations.

Executive Summary

To ensure that low-carbon energy sources continue growing rapidly with the aim of cutting energy-sector greenhouse gas emissions to near-zero, governments around the world have been focused on two major efforts: a “push” from innovation that helps make low-carbon energy cheaper and more versatile, and a “pull” from policies and market design that encourage the commercial scale-up of low-carbon energy.

In November 2015, a diverse set of 20 nations signed Mission Innovation's joint statement that pledged: "Each participating country will seek to double its governmental and/or state-directed clean energy research and development investment over five years."

Near Zero invited experts worldwide to submit examples of R&D efforts that could help achieve Mission Innovation’s goals. Forty-five experts participated, and this report presents a selection from their responses, focused on four areas: solar power, greening the grid, decarbonizing gas, and energy efficiency. Full responses are presented in a supplementary report.

To support nations around the world—in particular members of the Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation—in discussions of future energy R&D budgets, more interaction is needed between experts in academia, industry, government, and civil society. Structured expert elicitation and discussion can help governments identify the best opportunities and most pressing challenges for future energy research.


Read the Full Report

This report was based on the discussion of 45 experts.
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