Energy Technology RD&D

Tracking trends in spending on research, development and demonstration

The IEA’s Energy Technology RD&D Budget Database allows users to track trends in spending by energy technology in IEA countries back to 1977. Data is collected from central or federal government budgets, as well as the budgets of state-owned companies, for spending on a range of sectors including energy efficiency, renewables, nuclear power, fossil fuels, hydrogen and fuel cells, and more. All figures refer to total public energy RD&D expenditure data, converted from current prices in national currencies to US dollar PPPs in constant 2018 prices, using GDP deflators and 2018 PPPs.


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Overview of public energy RD&D trends in IEA Countries


In 2018, the estimated total public energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) budget for IEA member governments reached to USD 19.6 billion (in purchasing power parity, or PPP, terms)1. After four years of decreases through to 2016, total public energy RD&D budget of IEA member countries increased in 2017 by 2% and again in 2018, reaching a level 26% higher than in 2008 but still 5% lower than in 2012, and much lower than the 2009 peak. The 2018 increase was driven by higher budgets allocated to low-carbon energy technologies.

1Does not include USD 1.83 billion of the European Union energy RD&D funding under the Horizon 2020 programme in 2018.

Total public energy RD&D budget for 



Note: Data for 2018 include for the first time the additional spending of the Ministry of Environment (MoE) of Japan (0.4 USD billion), which is not covered for previous years. This has effects on the apparent 2017-2018 growth of 1.5 USD billion for IEA member countries and of 20% for Japan.

	Total budget
United States  	7148
Japan          	3187.576
European Union	1827
France         	1526
Germany        	1404
United Kingdom 	1041
Canada         	850
Korea          	757
Italy          	655
Mexico	409
Other IEA	2657
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Note: * The amounts shown are based on 2018 energy RD&D budgets, with the exceptions of Poland, Finland, Belgium, Spain, Estonia and New Zealand based on 2017 data; Czech Republic based on 2016 data. No recent data were available for Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal. Data for the United States have been estimated by the IEA Secretariat. European Union refers to the European Union budget under Horizon 2020, and not to the sum of national budgets of European Union member countries.

The ratio of overall public energy RD&D budget per unit of GDP varied greatly among IEA member countries, ranging from less than 0.1 USD PPP to at most 1 per thousand in 2017. Norway had the highest level in the IEA, with a ratio of 0.97 USD PPP per thousand, followed by Estonia (0.93). Other leading countries were Finland (0.82), Switzerland (0.61) and Hungary (0.54).

	Total budget
United States	7147.516
Japan	3187.576
European Union	1827.389
France	1526.081
Germany	1403.672
United Kingdom	1041.176
Canada	850.116
Korea	757.292
Italy	655.216
Mexico	408.829
Switzerland	348.898
Norway	290.151
Netherlands	284.855
Poland	236.315
Finland	214.184
Belgium	208.405
Turkey	186.456
Austria	185.651
Australia	165.284
Sweden	149.255
Spain	121.144
Denmark	109.61
Czech Republic	43.57
Estonia	42.123
Hungary	29.413
Ireland	25.288
Slovak Republic	8.809
New Zealand	7.602
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Note: * The amounts shown are based on 2018 energy RD&D budgets, with the exceptions of Poland, Finland, Belgium, Spain, Estonia and New Zealand based on 2017 data; Czech Republic based on 2016 data. No recent data were available for Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal. Data for the United States have been estimated by the IEA Secretariat.
	2017
Norway	0.973
Estonia	0.926
Finland	0.816
Switzerland	0.613
Hungary	0.542
Japan	0.490
France	0.488
Austria	0.377
Korea	0.374
Canada	0.374
Sweden	0.365
Belgium	0.365
United States	0.326
United Kingdom	0.319
Germany	0.309
Denmark	0.291
Italy	0.251
Netherlands	0.204
Poland	0.202
Mexico	0.141
Czech Republic	0.110
Australia	0.110
Turkey	0.089
Ireland	0.067
Spain	0.065
New Zealand	0.038
Slovak Republic	0.024
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Note: * Total RD&D in nominal national currencies divided by GDP in nominal national currencies at market prices and volumes, expressed in thousand units of GDP. Based on 2017 data, except for Czech Republic based on 2016 data. No recent data were available for Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal. Data for the United States have been estimated by the IEA Secretariat.

Public energy RD&D trends across technologies in IEA Countries


Over the last 40 years, investment from IEA member countries in energy RD&D has become progressively more diverse. Nuclear power, dominant in 1974 with 75% of total public energy RD&D budget, witnessed year-to-year reductions to reach 22% in 2018, a share comparable to energy efficiency (21%), renewables (15%) and cross-cutting RD&D (23%). RD&D budgets on fossil fuels, which were at their highest in the 1980s and early 1990s, have declined since 2013 (15%) to 9% in 2018.

RD&D budgets for both energy efficiency and renewables grew significantly during the 1990s and 2000s, rising from 7% each in 1990 to 22% and 21% respectively in 2010. However, since then the share of expenditures on energy efficiency has remained almost constant, whilst the share of renewables declined to 15%. On the other hand, cross-cutting RD&D grew in the first decade of the 21st century. RD&D budgets for hydrogen and fuel cells kept their share at 3% since 2012.

	Nuclear                 	Other power and storage	Hydrogen and fuel cells 	Fossil fuels            	Cross-cutting              	Renewable energy sources	Energy efficiency       
1974	74.5908727	2.224979984	0	8.534027222	7.957566053	2.70376301	3.988791033
1980	53.8710885	3.061372795	0	16.58717051	7.264319218	12.53837176	6.677677215
1990	52.21318399	2.969935396	0	19.64357731	11.6240669	6.87201808	6.67721832
2000	45.41647836	6.615876998	0	7.098255873	15.36602688	8.940149971	16.56321192
2010	29.6494256	5.500782051	4.947953185	12.95183647	3.35256998	21.14287255	22.45456016
2018	21.53404952	5.84513822	3.109766347	9.464284805	22.90122608	15.19379371	21.0475914
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In 2018, Japan remained the country with the largest RD&D budget for nuclear (USD 1144 million in PPP), hydrogen and fuel cells (USD 216 million in PPP) and other power and storage (USD 201 million in PPP). For the remaining technologies, the United States had the highest RD&D budget. For the United States, almost half of the 2018 energy RD&D budget was allocated to cross-cutting energy technologies1 and could not be broken down further.

The energy RD&D budget increased in 2018 for all types of technology except for “other power and storage technologies”, which decreased by 8%. The increase was 18% for cross-cutting technologies, 25% for hydrogen and fuel cells, 13% for fossil fuels, 10% for energy efficiency, 5% for nuclear and 3% for renewables. 

1The main components of the amount reported under cross-cutting energy technologies correspond to what the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, reports under its Basic Energy Sciences program and selected items of its Biological & Environmental Research program. Data for the United States have been estimated by the IEA Secretariat.

	Energy efficiency	Fossil fuel	Renewable energy	Nuclear	Hydrogen and fuel cells	Other power and storage	Cross-cutting	Unallocated
	1156	499	689	913	103	120	2889	123
	1249	571	755	1079	115	41	3253	84
								
	199.336	57.443	173.214	818.255	36.946	54.202	141.409	0
	240.496	43.568	174.996	829.275	36.745	67.082	133.92	0
								
	621	96	518	206	180	326	221	0
	428	70	500	135	141	298	256	0
								
	302	62	398	289	30	183	108	0
	187	62	276	283	37	149	410	0
								
	2153	1046	1657	2004	323	892	629	100
	2455	1181	1777	2036	422	891	699	93
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Note: * European Union refers to the European Union budget under Horizon 2020, and not to the sum of national budgets of European Union member countries. Data for the United States have been estimated by the IEA Secretariat. Data for 2018 include for the first time the additional spending of the Ministry of Environment (MoE) of Japan (0.4 USD billion), which is not covered for previous years. This has effects on the apparent 2017-2018 Other IEA growth of 0.8 USD billion.

Public low-carbon energy RD&D trends in IEA Countries


RD&D spending in low-carbon1 energy technologies in IEA member countries saw a significant increase in 2018 to reach USD 18.5 billion (2018 prices and PPP) representing 94% of total RD&D budgets (Figure 7). As total energy RD&D spending, after four years of decreases since 2012, low-carbon energy technologies in IEA member countries increased in 2017 by 3% and again in 2018.

In comparison, spending for non-low-carbon2 energy technologies (coal, gas, oil and other fossil fuel RD&D) remained steady in 2018 at just above $1 billion.

1In the current IEA categorization of RD&D energy technologies, low-carbon energy technologies are defined as: energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage (CCS), renewable energy sources, nuclear, hydrogen and fuel cells, other power and storage, and other cross-cutting technologies and research.

2In the current IEA categorization of RD&D energy technologies, non-low-carbon energy technologies represent coal, gas, oil and other fossil fuel RD&D. However, CCS is included in low-carbon.

	Low-carbon	Non-low-carbon
1977	15285.2	2229.4
1978	16971.6	2740.8
1979	18776.9	2908.6
1980	18939.8	3765.7
1981	17907.2	3792.4
1982	17165.2	2626.5
1983	16217.1	2438
1984	15913	2402.1
1985	15580.1	2169.7
1986	13789.9	2215.2
1987	11942.1	1928.6
1988	11164.1	2135.2
1989	11308.6	1905.3
1990	10560.7	2581
1991	10832.3	2225.9
1992	10134.5	1549.3
1993	9749.1	1500.8
1994	9909.6	1604.8
1995	10122.4	1272.1
1996	9713.5	1293.5
1997	9467.9	1021.7
1998	9629.8	921.4
1999	9980	850.9
2000	10073.5	768.6
2001	10468.8	967.2
2002	11299.2	1574.8
2003	10969.6	1468.8
2004	11258.9	1353.9
2005	11860.2	1285.3
2006	12303.2	1288
2007	13544.1	1399.9
2008	14163.9	1415.3
2009	18982	4411.2
2010	17262	1279
2011	19281.5	1235.2
2012	19433.6	1208.3
2013	17870.5	1815.7
2014	17825.2	1584
2015	16866.6	1438
2016	16578.9	1246.5
2017	17030.8	1118.2
2018	18517.8	1113.9
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Note: * Data for 2018 include for the first time the additional spending of the Ministry of Environment (MoE) of Japan (0.4 USD billion of low-carbon technologies), which is not covered for previous years. This has effects on the apparent 2017-2018 growth.

Reflecting this broad trend, most IEA member countries increased low-carbon RD&D investments in 2018.

In the United States, low-carbon energy RD&D budgets were estimated to grow by 9% with an additional USD 581 million. The second largest increase was in Canada, where low-carbon energy RD&D budgets grew by 34%, amounting to USD 181 million. Mexico recorded one of the largest growth rates increasing the spending by 88% (94 million USD). Japan’s apparent 2017-18 growth was 20%, but this is largely due to data on additional spending by Japan’s Ministry of Environment (0.4 USD billion in 2018) that was not covered in previous years of this database.

	Low-carbon absolute growth (million USD) 	Low-carbon growth (%)
USA	581	9.376
Japan	539	20.486
Canada	181	34.377
Mexico	93	87.613
Netherlands	77	39.783
UK	74	7.823
France	63	4.364
Italy	20	3.935
Denmark	17	18.72
Australia	21	18.53
Korea	2	0.299
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Note: * Data for the United States, between the years 2016-2018, have been estimated by the IEA Secretariat.


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