Innovation

Comprehensive data, rigorous analysis and global partnerships on energy RD&D

Innovation is essential to fight climate change, improve energy security and enhance prosperity. This page brings together for the first time the IEA's comprehensive innovation efforts and partnerships across all energy technologies, serving as an essential and up-to-date resource for government and private-sector decision makers.


Overview


Innovation is a critical driver of clean energy transitions. Through research, investments and collaboration, breakthroughs are happening in a wide variety of energy-technology fields, including solar PV, electric vehicles, hydrogen and battery storage — helping drive down costs, increasing efficiencies and boosting deployment.

But much more needs to be done. The IEA has developed this central innovation repository to provide actionable insights to policymakers, companies, investors and others to accelerate progress towards cleaner energy. The IEA has established unique expertise in tracking energy innovation — from data on research, development and demonstration (RD&D) to analysis on public and private investment trends; from detailed technology roadmaps to timely commentaries; and from identifying “innovation gaps” to our global technology collaboration network.

Investment in innovation


Public investment in clean energy technology innovation showed a welcome 13% increase in 2017, according to the IEA's latest estimates, breaking a streak of declines and stagnation over several years. Private-sector clean energy innovation also grew by 5% in 2017. Meanwhile, clean energy VC investment is rising with USD 2.5 billion invested in 2017, following a spike in big deals in clean transport in 2016.

  • Public
  • Private
  • Venture capital
	North America	Europe	Asia and Oceania	Rest of World
2012	7.296530441	5.404292	6.394819866	0.379157715
2013	6.878272327	5.221181	5.964687088	0.532621955
2014	6.865946104	6.584787	5.879336734	0.49667507
2015	6.635047229	6.795485568	5.632852182	0.587942398
2016	6.87596422	6.475207447	5.435000684	0.414820123
2017 est.	7.80689265	7.113363235	6.374249154	0.337817445
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	Automotive	Renewables	Electricity	Nuclear	Other clean energy
2012	28.57	5.04	6.50	1.02	2.84
2013	32.27	4.55	6.21	1.04	2.94
2014	33.68	4.94	6.58	1.03	3.08
2015	34.46	5.06	7.20	1.04	3.43
2016	37.23	5.45	7.95	1.07	3.57
2017 est.	38.92	5.60	8.42	1.15	3.92
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	Transport	Solar	Bioenergy	Other renewables	Energy efficiency	Other clean energy
2007-11 avg.	0.345882609	0.876862006	0.401471636	0.170512672	0.65534986	0.438533485
2012	0.122069215	0.188049606	0.093409477	0.069517608	0.427038583	0.432095821
2013	0.168463029	0.127127626	0.090571311	0.058836701	0.507902242	0.293020241
2014	0.428419649	0.191278327	0.062025141	0.054991485	0.569502715	0.302486913
2015	0.439743499	0.230709848	0.212720068	0.027353109	0.419969547	0.26482617
2016	2.895238659	0.195478108	0.163523599	0.036043142	0.489653964	0.159817026
2017	1.536485947	0.130511247	0.110703742	0.011318256	0.434915576	0.264524309
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Tracking global investment in clean energy innovation

IEA’s most rigorous and timely innovation analysis ever covers global RD&D spending by governments, coprorate clean energy investments and venture capital investments in clean energy technologies.

Read more about clean energy RD&D spending

Detailed data on energy technology RD&D spending

The IEA maintains a comprenehsive database of trends in RD&D spending in IEA countries on a range of sectors including energy efficiency, renewables, nuclear power, fossil fuels, hydrogen and fuel cells, and more.

Access the RD&D budget database

Tracking progress


Clean energy technologies are gathering pace. But the IEA’s comprehensive tracking of clean energy technology progress shows that only 4 clean-energy technologies out of 38 are on track with what is needed under the Paris Agreement: solar photovoltaics (PV), electric vehicles (EVs), lighting and data centres.

Of the others, 23 need improvement and 11 are off track. Part of the reason is that fossil fuels are stubborn, still accounting for 81% of the global energy mix, a share almost unchanged in several decades.

Status of 38 clean energy technologies tracked by the IEA
Hover for more information

Innovation gaps by sector

IEA’s Innovation Tracking Framework identifies key long-term “technology innovation gaps” that need to be filled in order to meet long-term clean energy transition goals. In 2018, the framework highlighted around 100 innovation gaps across 35 key technologies in four main areas:

Industry Power Buildings Energy integration

A major upgrade of the IEA's innovation gaps analysis will be launched in June 2019.

IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs)


Cross-cutting

Cross-cutting activities relevant to all energy sectors and sources including modelling, and women’s participation in clean energy.

Buildings

Innovation activities relating to efficiency gains in buildings, such as heat pumps, district heating and cooling and energy storage.

Electricity

Activities relating to innovation in electricity systems, such as smart grids, demand-side management and superconductivity technology.

Industry

Enabling greater industrial energy efficiency and supporting innovation for cost-effective industrial technologies and system configurations.

Transport

Research and analysis of technologies such as fuel cells, EVs, emission reductions in combustion as well as advanced materials and fuels.

Fossil fuels

Focusing on technologies to reduce costs and enhance sustainability of fossil fuels, including CCUS, EOR and fluidized bed conversion technology.

Fusion power

Fundamental and applied research including device-specific research and cross-cutting research such as materials and safety.

Renewable energy

Related to renewable energy sources and hydrogen, including bioenergy, solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and ocean energy.



Calendar

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Latest innovation publications


The IEA produces a range of analysis on innovation and RD&D including a series of global, low-carbon energy technology roadmaps. The roadmaps identify priority actions for governments, industry, financial partners and civil society that will advance technology development and uptake to achieve international climate change goals.


Partnerships


Accelerated transitions to cleaner energy require unprecedented innovation. International and cross-sectoral cooperation can provide greater confidence that individual and collective actions align in terms of priorities, expected outputs and desired outcomes. For nearly half a century the IEA has provided support for a unique global innovation network, and is further expanding our innovation cooperation with a broad range of international partners.


Committee on Energy Research and Technology (CERT)

Under the guidance of the IEA Governing Board, the CERT oversees the technology forecasting, analyses and the research, development, demonstration and deployment strategies of the IEA Secretariat, notably through its flagship technology tracking project, Tracking Clean Energy Progress (TCEP), and the series of Technology Roadmaps. The CERT also provides strategic guidance to its Working Parties, Experts' Groups and the Technology Collaboration Programmes.


Mission Innovation

Mission Innovation (MI) is a global initiative of 23 countries and the European Commission (on behalf of the European Union) working to reinvigorate and accelerate global clean energy innovation with the objective to make clean energy widely affordable. MI was announced at COP21 on November 30, 2015, as world leaders came together in Paris to commit to seek to double their governmental and/or state-directed clean energy clean energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) investments over five years. Details of the collaboration between MI and the IEA can be found in the Letter of Intent signed at the third MI Ministerial.


Breakthrough Energy Coalition

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition (BEC) is an international group of investors, companies, funds and banks committed to accelerating the commercialization of new reliable and affordable energy technologies that can help tackle climate change. The BEC believes that forging deep partnerships between its members and governments will lead to more investments earlier, and more energy solutions for more people faster. The BEC was launched at COP 21 in 2015 alongside MI. At the One Planet Summit in December 2017, Bill Gates, on behalf of the BEC, announced a set of pilot partnerships representing a new approach to public-private collaboration that aims to catalyse more investment in low-carbon technology companies and innovators. Find out more about MI’s private sector engagement work.


World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is the international organisation for public-private cooperation. Collaboration between the public and private sectors is an effective method for accelerating innovation. The IEA is collaborating with the World Economic Forum to drive private sector involvement, public-private partnerships, and knowledge-sharing around public-private research and technology development. The collaboration increases the relevance and impact of the private sector on governments’ clean energy RD&D investments, helping to unlock the technology breakthroughs in cost and performance needed to revolutionize energy systems throughout the world.