Abstract

SummaryThere is a critical need to accelerate and improve the innovation process for clean energy technologies. In order to stem the most-dire effects of the climate crisis, there will need to be increased research, development, demonstration, commercialization, deployment, and adoption of clean energy technologies. The innovation process for energy technologies is especially challenging compared with other technological sectors, and can be strengthened through better use of the unique capabilities of the federal government. Recently, the focus of efforts to enhance clean energy innovation has been on what a stimulus bill and/or single piece of legislation can achieve. However, the federal government possesses numerous other means for strengthening the energy innovation process: (1) taking on a greater quantity of risk in the federal government’s RD&D portfolio; (2) extending the federal government’s support for clean energy technologies through its purchasing power; (3) drawing on the full scope of the federal government; and (4) putting energy innovation in the context of societal transformations. Insights on how to draw on the federal government’s resources to support clean energy innovation through these means are described and discussed with an eye toward applicability and actionable steps.

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