Energy Technology RD&D

Tracking trends in spending on research, development and deployment

The IEA’s Energy Technology RD&D Budget Database allows users to track trends in spending by energy technology in IEA countries back to 1974. 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 2017 prices, using GDP deflators and 2017 PPPs.


Access the database Download the overview

The IEA Energy Technology RD&D Budget Database can be accessed for free through IEA Data Services by logging in as GUEST - please see the documentation for more information. To learn more about the database and how the data is collected, please consult the manual or questionnaire.

Energy Technology RD&D overview


Recent trends in RD&D spending

After 4 years of decreases, the total public energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) budget of IEA member countries finally increased in 2017, exceeding USD 18.5 billion – a level not seen since 2014. The 7% year-to-year increase between 2016 and 2017 is mostly due to higher budgets allocated to low-carbon energy technologies.

	RD&D Budget
1977	16.7729
1978	18.9849
1979	20.8915
1980	21.8871
1981	20.9168
1982	19.0583
1983	17.9993
1984	17.6409
1985	17.1289
1986	15.4751
1987	13.4145
1988	12.8637
1989	12.877
1990	12.8129
1991	12.7386
1992	11.4131
1993	10.9941
1994	11.2738
1995	11.1643
1996	10.765
1997	10.2559
1998	10.2916
1999	10.6005
2000	10.607
2001	11.189
2002	12.5429
2003	12.0573
2004	12.1695
2005	12.7103
2006	13.1501
2007	14.4016
2008	14.9757
2009	22.5319
2010	17.8251
2011	19.6214
2012	19.6602
2013	18.2403
2014	18.1746
2015	17.2063
2016	16.9838
2017	18.1214
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Investment by technology

Investment in energy RD&D has become progressively more diverse. Nuclear, dominant in 1974 with 74% of the total, witnessed year-on-year reductions, falling to just 19% in 2017. On the other hand, energy efficiency (23%), renewables (18%) and cross-cutting RD&D (20%) all increased their shares. Mirroring this trend, RD&D budgets on fossil fuels, which saw peaks in the 1980s and 1990s, have been declining over the past years, from 14% in 2013 to just 8% in 2017, their lowest share since 2000.

	Energy efficiency       	Fossil fuels            	Renewable energy sources	Hydrogen and fuel cells 	Other power and storage	Cross-cutting              	Nuclear                 
1974	3.877855604	8.616420467	2.759357563	0	1.980903278	7.98721232	74.77825077
1980	6.653690987	16.72857528	12.60331428	0	3.039690046	7.342681305	53.6320481
1990	6.592574671	19.70826277	6.8352988	0	2.979809411	11.56959002	52.31446433
2000	16.6522108	7.053832375	8.872442727	0	6.57867446	15.34552654	45.4973131
2010	22.6153009	13.08772461	21.26944589	5.008106546	5.564064157	3.358185929	29.09717197
2015	19.69046221	10.85765098	19.24062698	2.908237099	7.721590348	17.38084306	21.71995141
2017	22.53689009	7.788581456	18.07641794	2.641076297	8.491617645	20.0873001	18.92513823
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	Total budget
United States	7289.042
Japan	2709.441
European Union	1979.343
Germany	1302.62
France	1193.607
Canada	804.109
United Kingdom	763.354
Korea	750.172
Italy	671.876
Mexico	332.576
Norway	328.836
Switzerland	326.681
Poland	225.889
Belgium	211.767
Turkey	200.153
Netherlands	186.517
Finland	185.955
Sweden	183.322
Austria	174.612
Australia	138.239
Spain	134.188
Denmark	86.24
Hungary	63.191
Czech Republic	41.221
Estonia	39.533
New Zealand	7.399
Slovak Republic	4.222
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Japan maintains the largest nuclear energy RD&D budget, both in absolute terms at 1.2 billion USD and as a share of total energy RD&D at 43%. In contrast, cross-cutting energy technologies represent a large share in the United States at 38%. Taken as a whole, other IEA member countries show relatively large shares of energy efficiency and renewables.

	Energy efficiency	Fossil fuels	Renewable energy sources	Nuclear	Hydrogen and fuel cells	Other power and storage	Other cross-cutting	Unallocated
	1376.307	500.246	1001.072	891.524	135.365	339.609	2437.785	0
	1751.077	424.077	1142.671	769.086	89.3	366.1	2746.731	0
	551.489	271.808	431.978	1142.194	142.177	205.007	91.128	0
	510.276	121.846	366.647	1173.381	149.462	191.878	195.951	0
	444.736	52.176	482.083	195.936	111.492	251.134	144.172	0
	532.285	100.958	487.415	195.212	167.305	306.703	189.466	0
	238.405	51.824	318.172	275.486	20.114	142.575	96.45	0
	287.053	59.121	377.819	274.055	28.175	174.203	102.194	0
	1354.999	903.522	1549.178	1232.996	214.644	803.509	558.137	23.3
	1543.394	1037.056	1453.163	1213.178	213.063	808.219	621.424	263.3
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	Low-carbon	Non-low-carbon
1977	14620.8	2152.1
1978	16330.1	2654.8
1979	18078.7	2812.8
1980	18226.2	3660.9
1981	17236.6	3680.2
1982	16526.6	2531.7
1983	15655.1	2344.2
1984	15314.2	2326.7
1985	15026.8	2102.1
1986	13330.8	2144.3
1987	11534.9	1879.6
1988	10777.1	2086.6
1989	11016.5	1860.5
1990	10288.2	2524.7
1991	10557.7	2180.9
1992	9895.2	1517.9
1993	9520.1	1474
1994	9697.9	1575.9
1995	9912.8	1251.5
1996	9495	1270
1997	9255	1000.9
1998	9386.8	904.8
1999	9770.3	830.2
2000	9859.6	747.4
2001	10249.3	939.7
2002	11002.1	1540.8
2003	10622	1435.3
2004	10842.9	1326.6
2005	11450.5	1259.8
2006	11888.3	1261.8
2007	13033.9	1367.7
2008	13592.2	1383.5
2009	18236.3	4295.6
2010	16580.1	1245
2011	18418.9	1202.5
2012	18482.3	1177.9
2013	16894.5	1345.8
2014	16896.1	1278.5
2015	15968.3	1238
2016	15967.7	1016.1
2017	17392.3	729.1
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The majority of IEA member countries increased their investments in low-carbon RD&D in 2017.

In the United States, low-carbon energy RD&D budgets grew by 11% from 2016 to 2017, representing an additional USD 700 million. In Canada, low-carbon energy RD&D budgets grew by 55%, amounting to USD 240 million, the second-highest increase among IEA member countries in 2017.

	Low-carbon growth (%)	Low-carbon absolute growth (million USD) 
USA	11.0070643	703.618
Japan	1.249604591	33.104
EU	16.52984929	275.241
Germany	13.79375973	153.648
Canada	54.74151256	240.832
UK	10.10217681	69.357
Australia	6.049228599	6.348
France	-6.763960363	-82.109
Mexico	-14.71670961	-17.59
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Energy in total R&D


Japan had the largest share of public energy R&D in its total R&D budget in 2017 at just over 12%. The United States, with the largest public energy R&D budget among IEA countries, had a share of energy in total R&D budget of approximately 2%.

When looking at  overall public energy R&D budget per unit of GDP, the ratio varies significantly among IEA member countries, ranging from less than 0.1 to over 2 per thousand. Estonia had the highest level among IEA countries in 2016 at 2.6 per thousand. Other leading countries were Norway (1.0), Finland (0.8), Switzerland (0.6) and Japan (0.5).

Top 10 IEA countries in energy RD&D per thousand units of GDP in 2016 (left), and share of energy in total R&D, 2017 (right)
	per GDP
Estonia	2.641
Norway	0.949
Finland	0.764
Switzerland	0.602
Japan	0.519
France	0.425
Austria	0.399
Belgium	0.398
Korea	0.393
Sweden	0.388
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	Share
Mexico	19.7
Japan	12.1
Korea	8.2
Canada	7.4
Finland	7
France	6.3
Australia	5.8
Germany	4.8
Czech Republic	4.3
Sweden	4
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Estimating corporate energy RD&D spending


IEA analysis under World Energy Investment 2018 and Tracking Clean Energy Progress examines public spending data for IEA and non-IEA member countries as well as private sector data.  The IEA's newly-enhanced innovation investments analysis tracked around USD 115 billion of worldwide spending on energy R&D in 2017. More than three-quarters of this spending came from the private sector.

Despite lower spending in recent years, the private sector remains the largest single source of funding for energy R&D. Total public reported corporate spending on energy R&D amounted to USD 88 billion in 2017 – up 3% on 2016 but still down 3% on 2014. Most of the decline since 2014 can be attributed to reduced budgets in the oil and gas sector in the wake of the fall in the oil price in 2014. Meanwhlie, spending on low-carbon technologies rose by 5% in 2017 to USD 58 billion, close to the average 6% rate of growth of the past five years, accounting for as much as two-thirds of total reported corporate energy R&D spending.


Access the database Download the overview

The IEA Energy Technology RD&D Budget Database can be accessed for free through IEA Data Services by logging in as GUEST - please see the documentation for more information. To learn more about the database and how the data is collected, please consult the manual or questionnaire.