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.


Access the database Download selected data 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.

Recent trends in RD&D spending


In 2018, the estimated total public energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) budget for IEA member governments reached to $18.9 billion (in purchasing power parity, or PPP, terms). 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 by 4%, reaching a level 22% higher than in 2008 but still 8% lower than in 2012, and much lower than the peak reached in 2009. The 2018 increase was mostly driven by higher budgets allocated to low-carbon energy technologies.

Total public energy RD&D budget for 



	Total budget
United States  	7148
Japan          	2775
European Union	1827
France         	1342
Germany        	1317
United Kingdom 	1041
Canada         	850
Korea          	757
Italy          	655
Mexico	409
Other IEA	2522
{"chart":{"type":"pie"},"plotOptions":{"pie":{"dataLabels":{"format":"{point.name}: {point.percentage:.0f}%"}}},"tooltip":{"valuePrefix":"$","valueSuffix":" million (2018 PPP)","valueDecimals":0},"title":{"text":"Public energy RD&D budgets by country for IEA members and the European Union"},"legend":{"enabled":false},"colors":["#ccc"]}
Note: The amounts shown are based on 2018 energy RD&D budgets, with the exceptions of France, Poland, Finland, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, Australia, Spain, Estonia and New Zealand based on 2017 data; Czech Republic based on 2016 data. No recent data were available for Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal. Data for USA have been estimated by the IEA Secretariat.

The ratio of overall public energy RD&D budget in US dollars per unit of GDP varied greatly among IEA member countries. Norway had the highest level in the IEA at 0.97, followed by Estonia at 0.93. Other leading countries were Finland (0.82), Switzerland (0.61) and Hungary (0.54).

	Total budget
United States	7147.516
Japan	2774.686
European Union	1827.389
France	1342.272
Germany	1316.801
United Kingdom	1041.176
Canada	850.116
Korea	757.292
Italy	655.216
Mexico	408.829
Switzerland	348.898
Norway	290.151
Poland	236.315
Finland	214.184
Belgium	208.405
Netherlands	194.671
Turkey	186.456
Austria	182.418
Australia	149.264
Sweden	149.255
Spain	121.144
Denmark	109.61
Czech Republic	43.57
Estonia	42.123
Hungary	29.413
Slovak Republic	8.809
New Zealand	7.602
{"chart":{"type":"bar","height":600},"plotOptions":{"bar":{"borderWidth":0}},"yAxis":{"title":{"text":"USD billion (2018 PPP)"},"tickInterval":1000},"tooltip":{"shared":true,"valuePrefix":"$","valueSuffix":" billion (2018 PPP)","valueDecimals":0},"title":{"text":"Total public energy RD&D budgets by countries for 2018 or latest year available"},"legend":{"enabled":false},"series":[{"colorIndex":2}],"responsive":{"rules":[{"condition":{"maxWidth":500},"chartOptions":{"chart":{
"height":600}}}]}}
Note: The amounts shown are based on 2018 energy RD&D budgets, with the exceptions of France, Poland, Finland, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, Australia, Spain, Estonia and New Zealand for which it is based on 2017 data; Czech Republic for which it is based on 2016 data. No recent data were available for Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal. Data for USA have been estimated by the IEA Secretariat.
	2017
Norway	0.973
Estonia	0.926
Finland	0.816
Switzerland	0.613
Hungary	0.542
Japan	0.488
France	0.444
Austria	0.377
Canada	0.374
Korea	0.374
Belgium	0.365
Sweden	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
Australia	0.113
Czech Republic	0.11
Turkey	0.089
Spain	0.065
New Zealand	0.038
Slovak Republic	0.024
{"chart":{"type":"bar","height":600},"xAxis":{"type":"category"},"plotOptions":{"bar":{"borderWidth":0}},"tooltip":{"shared":true,"valuePrefix":"","valueSuffix":" per thousand units of GDP","valueDecimals":2},"yAxis":{"title":{"text":""},"reversedStacks":false,"max":1},"title":{"text":"Total public energy RD&D budgets per thousand units of GDP in by countries for 2017"},"legend":{"enabled":false},"series":[{"colorIndex":8}],"responsive":{"rules":[{"condition":{"maxWidth":500},"chartOptions":{"chart":{
"height":600}}}]}}
Note: Based on 2017 data, except for Czech Republic (2016 data). No recent data were available for Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal. Data for USA have been estimated by the IEA Secretariat.

Trends across technologies


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, fell to 22% in 2018, now comparable to the shares for energy efficiency (21%), renewables (16%) and cross-cutting RD&D (22%). RD&D budgets on fossil fuels, which were at their highest in the 1980s and early 1990s, have declined since 2013.

RD&D budgets for both energy efficiency and renewables grew significantly during the 1990s and 2000s, rising from 7% each in 1990 to 23% and 21% respectively in 2010. However, since then the share of expenditures on energy efficiency (21%) has remained steady, while the share of renewables declined to 16%.

	Energy efficiency       	Fossil fuels            	Renewable energy sources	Hydrogen and fuel cells 	Other power and storage	Cross-cutting              	Nuclear                 
1974	498.2	1065.9	337.7	0	277.9	993.9	9316.4
1980	1516.2	3766.2	2846.9	0	695.1	1649.4	12231.7
1990	877.5	2581.5	903.1	0	390.3	1527.6	6861.7
2000	1795.8	769.6	969.3	0	717.3	1666	4924.1
2010	4163.3	2401.4	3920.1	917.4	1019.9	621.6	5411.2
2018	3989.4	1780	2972.1	529.4	1159.2	4197.7	4073.2
{"chart":{"type":"column","height":"45%"},"plotOptions":{"column":{"borderWidth":0,"stacking":"percent"}},"yAxis":{"title":{"text":""},"tickInterval":20,"labels":{"format":"{value}%"},"reversedStacks":false},"xAxis":{"type":"category"},"tooltip":{"valuePrefix":"$","valueSuffix":" million (2018 PPP)","valueDecimals":0},"title":{"text":"Evolution of IEA total public energy RD&D by technology"},"series":[{"colorIndex":3},{"colorIndex":7},{"colorIndex":0},{"colorIndex":2},{"colorIndex":6},{"colorIndex":5},{"colorIndex":8}]}

In 2018, Japan remained a leading spender on nuclear ($1144 million), hydrogen and fuel cells ($169 million) and other power and storage ($189 million). For remaining technologies, the United States has the highest RD&D budget where almost half of the 2018 energy RD&D budget was allocated to cross-cutting energy technologies.

	Energy efficiency	Fossil fuels	Renewable energy sources	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
	500.419	119.492	359.564	1150.715	146.575	188.172	192.165	0
	566.125	111.175	412.371	1143.882	168.893	188.858	183.382	0
	621	96	518	206	180	326	221	0
	428	70	500	135	141	298	256	0
	302.29	62.259	397.874	288.602	29.67	183.451	107.618	0
	303.987	61.828	356.757	283.217	36.674	148.719	125.617	0
	1854	981	1499	1535	213	777	596	100
	1870	1036	1448	1567	209	781	636	91
{"chart":{"type":"column","height":"45%"},"plotOptions":{"column":{"borderWidth":0,"stacking":"normal"}},"yAxis":{"title":{"text":"USD (2018 PPP) million"},"reversedStacks":false,"tickInterval":2000},"xAxis":[{"categories":["2017","2018","2017","2018","2017","2018","2017","2018","2017","2018"],"tickLength":5},{"categories":["USA","Japan","EU","Germany","Other IEA (estimated)"],"offset":0,"ticklength":40,"labels":{"y":40,"style":{"color":"#ccc"}},"plotLines":[{"value":0.5,"width":1,"dashStyle":"Dash","color":"#ccc"},{"value":1.5,"width":1,"dashStyle":"Dash","color":"#ccc"},{"value":2.5,"width":1,"dashStyle":"Dash","color":"#ccc"},{"value":3.5,"width":1,"dashStyle":"Dash","color":"#ccc"}]}],"tooltip":{"valuePrefix":"$","valueSuffix":" million (2018 PPP)","valueDecimals":0},"title":{"text":"2017 and 2018 budgets by technology in selected IEA countries and the European Union"},"series":[{"colorIndex":3},{"colorIndex":7},{"colorIndex":0},{"colorIndex":8},{"colorIndex":2},{"colorIndex":6},{"colorIndex":5},{"color":"#ccc"},{"data":[null,null,null,null,null],"xAxis":1,"showInLegend":false}]}
Note: Data for Mexico are included in this graph within Other IEA. 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 USA have been estimated by the IEA Secretariat.

Trends in low-carbon energy RD&D spending


Following decreases from 2012 to 2016, RD&D spending in low-carbon energy technologies in IEA member countries increased by 3% in 2017 and then by 5% in 2018 to reach $17.8 billion. Low-carbon energy technology spending now represents 94% of total RD&D budgets. Low-carbon energy technologies include energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage, renewable energy sources, nuclear, hydrogen and fuel cells, other power and storage, and other cross-cutting technologies and research.

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

	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	13519.8	1399.9
2008	14116.3	1415.3
2009	18919.3	4411.2
2010	17175.9	1279
2011	19196.1	1235.2
2012	19349.2	1208.3
2013	17746	1815.7
2014	17717	1584
2015	16730.7	1438
2016	16516.9	1246.2
2017	16962.5	1113.4
2018	17762.5	1113.5
{"chart":{"type":"line","height":"45%"},"plotOptions":{"line":{"marker":{"enabled":false}}},"title":{"text":"Evolution of public low-carbon energy RD&D budget in IEA member countries"},"yAxis":{"title":{"text":"USD (2018 PPP) million"}},"tooltip":{"shared":true,"valueDecimals":0,"valuePrefix":"$","valueSuffix":" million (2018 PPP)"},"xAxis":{"tickPositions":[1977,1980,1990,2000,2010,2018]},"series":[{"colorIndex":0},{"colorIndex":7}]}

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 have grown by 9% with an additional $581 million. The second largest increase was in Canada, where low-carbon energy RD&D budgets grew by 34%, reaching $181 million. For Japan, the growth rate was 5%, for an total of $126 million.

	Absolute growth	Relative growth
USA	580.809	9
Canada	180.927	34
Japan	125.993	5
UK	74.198	8
Poland	25.353	14
Finland	25.151	13
Italy	20.28	4
Denmark	17.141	19
Australia	8.514	8
Korea	2.137	0
{"chart":{"type":"column","height":"45%"},"title":{"text":"Growth in public low-carbon energy RD&D budgets for selected IEA countries, 2017-18"},"yAxis":[{"title":{"text":"USD (2018 PPP) million"}},{"title":{"text":""},"min":0,"max":40,"opposite":true,"labels":{"format":"{value}%"}}],"xAxis":{"type":"category"},"tooltip":{"shared":true},"series":[{"colorIndex":1,"tooltip":{"valueDecimals":0,"valuePrefix":"$","valueSuffix":" million (2018 PPP)"}},{"type":"line","yAxis":1,"colorIndex":8,"lineWidth":0,"states":{"hover":{"lineWidth":0,"lineWidthPlus":0}},"tooltip":{"valueSuffix":"%"}}]}
In this graph, Poland, Finland and Austria data refers to growth between 2016 and 2017. Data for USA, between the years 2016-2018, have been estimated by the IEA Secretariat.


Access the database Download selected data 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.