EEA: Focus Energy Policies to Spur Innovation
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The European Environment Agency (EEA) has released a report compiling the 582 energy support measures of member States that were in place in 2012 and their probable effects on energy innovation.

The report, titled 'Energy Support Measures and Their Impact on Innovation in the Renewable Energy Sector in Europe,' finds that 41% of these measures are associated with renewable energy, while 53% are associated with fossil fuels.

EEA reports that a higher carbon price could drive innovation, as it revealed a correlation between higher taxes on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and a higher rate of renewable energy technology patent applications.

EEA15 December 2014: The European Environment Agency (EEA) has released a report compiling the 582 energy support measures of member States that were in place in 2012 and their probable effects on energy innovation. The report, titled ‘Energy Support Measures and Their Impact on Innovation in the Renewable Energy Sector in Europe,’ finds that 41% of these measures are associated with renewable energy, while 53% are associated with fossil fuels. The findings of the report suggest support policies could be better focused to drive innovation in renewables.

In particular, EEA reports that a higher carbon price could drive innovation, as it revealed a correlation between higher taxes on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and a higher rate of renewable energy technology patent applications. In-depth case studies and comparisons of the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland suggest that political will, pre-existing innovation capabilities and significant investment in research and development (R&D) for renewable technologies are also contributing factors to a high level of innovation.

Among the four case study countries, EEA also conducted a comparison of the financial support received by renewables versus fossil fuels in 2011, the year with the most complete data. The results show that the Czech Republic and Spain spent 20% and 28%, respectively, of total energy support on conventional energy sources, while a majority went to renewable energy sources. Switzerland and the Netherlands, however, allocated most of their support (57% and 69%) to conventional energy sources.

The report cautions that a high level of public support alone does not guarantee a healthy national innovation system in the energy sector. Instead, the case studies illustrate that a balance of market push and market pull policies is more important in stimulating innovative processes than the level of support alone. [EEA Press Release] [EEA Publication Webpage] [Publication: Energy Support Measures and Their Impact on Innovation in the Renewable Energy Sector in Europe]

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