Introduction and Summary

Rebecca M. Henderson and Richard G. Newell

in Accelerating Energy Innovation

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780226326832
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226326856 | DOI:
Introduction and Summary

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Reorienting current energy systems toward a far greater reliance on technologies with low or no carbon dioxide emissions is an immense challenge. This book explores how the U.S. energy innovation system could be improved using a complementary approach. Instead of focusing on the history of the energy industry to draw lessons for the future of energy innovation, it outlines the history of innovation in several industries that have already seen extraordinary rates of technological progress: agriculture, chemicals, semiconductors, computers, the Internet, and biopharmaceuticals. The chapters examine the complex role that public policy and private markets have played in triggering rapid innovation in the industry and in sustaining it once in motion. In four of the industries discussed in the book—agriculture, semiconductors, computers, and the Internet—the federal government played an important role in funding deployment of the new technology. The book suggests that greatly increasing rates of energy innovation requires creating significant demand for low-carbon technologies, substantially increased federal funding for well-managed research, and support for the initial deployment of new technologies.

Keywords: energy systems; carbon dioxide emissions; innovation; technology

Chapter.  10098 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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