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Want Low-Cost Clean Energy? Bank on Innovation

In the United States, there is a heated debate about how much government should support renewable energy innovation. While you won’t find anyone who says they don’t value ‘innovation’, the U.S. federal investment in energy innovation across both fossil and renewable technology is still anemic, badly trailing China and only about one third of the amount recommended by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. That’s unfortunate, because there are compelling reasons to accelerate innovation in the energy sector, and specifically in renewable energy.

Climate Week Highlights Need for Accelerated Innovation in Clean Technology

This piece was written with Pablo Torres, Intern at the World Resources Institute.

During Climate Week 2011, business, government, non-profit, and civil society leaders from around the world are convening in New York City to drive a ‘clean energy revolution’. Not surprisingly, innovation in clean technologies is a common theme among many of the events.

In most models of a low-carbon future, innovation is assumed to occur and to reduce costs over time.[^1] There has been less focus on how to ensure this innovation takes place and is most effective. That is the focus of WRI’s new working paper, Two Degrees of Innovation: How to Seize the Opportunities in Low-Carbon Power.

Solyndra, Solar Power, and the Road Ahead

This piece originally appeared on the National Journal Energy and Environment Experts Blog.

The case of the solar company Solyndra has been getting widespread attention, but much of the current discussion misses the point. While some would like to portray the collapse of this company as the downfall of the U.S. solar industry, the larger picture tells a very different story.

Solar power is rapidly expanding around the world, driven by opportunities for innovation and investment in low-carbon energy. According to the International Energy Agency, solar power is on a path to provide 20-25 percent of the world’s electric power by 2050. This is a huge market opportunity. And, a recent report by Ernst & Young confirms that the solar energy market has grown from less than $1 billion in 2000 to $79 billion in 2010.

Open Climate Network Launches Website to Track National Progress on Climate Change

Welcome to the Open Climate Network website, a platform for updates and analysis on country actions on climate mitigation and the provision of climate finance. Here you will find information on the latest policy developments in our partner countries and results of Open Climate Network analysis.

The Open Climate Network (OCN) is developing a set of climate policy tracking and assessment tools that will help people raise the right questions about climate-related policy design and implementation in their countries. These tools will generate a nuanced, contextualized, independent, and peer-reviewed understanding of climate policy implementation for both domestic and international audiences. Our aim is to harness the insights captured through the assessment tools and use them to engage civil society and others in the interest of improving policy design and implementation.

New Ventures Forum Addresses Challenges to Scaling Up Clean Energy Access in India

New Ventures India, part of WRI’s center for environmental entrepreneurship, and CDF-IFMR convened a workshop in Mumbai earlier this summer to address the barriers to the clean energy industry serving India’s rural poor. Representatives from every major clean energy company in India joined senior executives from corporations with rural marketing and distribution expertise, representatives from Indian regulatory bodies, and end-user consumer financing experts at the event.

Clean energy products, such as solar cookers, and services, such as renewable energy, have the potential to provide power to India’s rural poor without the negative environmental effects of traditional fuel sources. Tapping into India’s Base of the Pyramid (BoP) market can also create profits for companies providing these clean energy products and services. So why hasn’t this market taken off yet in India?

Developing Countries Can Spark Wave of Innovation in Clean Energy

Looking for the innovations that can help developing countries achieve a low-carbon energy future, at an affordable cost.

At this week’s Asia Clean Energy Forum, policymakers, private sector firms, and non-governmental organizations will discuss how Asian countries can transform their power sectors while meeting development needs.

One topic on the agenda will be innovation: new approaches to bring down the cost and improve the performance of low-carbon energy technologies.

Between Populism and Price Increases: Who Will Pay for the Cost of Renewable Energy?

As feed-in tariffs gain traction as a policy mechanism of choice, we must keep in mind the bigger picture of the financial health of developing country electricity sectors.

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