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


Global public investment in low-carbon energy technology research and development (R&D) grew again in 2018, by 5%, to $23 billion. As a share of GDP, public energy R&D funding of the major economies is not growing, yet more innovation in clean energy technologies is needed. Corporate low-carbon energy R&D spending also grew by 5% in 2018. Meanwhile, clean energy VC investment reached its highest ever level at nearly $7 billion, led by a sharp rise in investment in early-stage clean transport companies.

  • Public
  • Private
  • Venture capital
	China	North America	Europe	Japan, Korea, Australia, NZ	Rest of World
2014	2.196749665	7.019	7.172718	3.717	0.76000769
2015	2.498276743	6.787	7.26147	3.165	0.758391505
2016	2.427297918	6.803	7.093977	3.041	0.614127414
2017	3.247656138	6.754	7.736424	3.072	0.635418671
2018	3.808971034	7.554	7.344917	3.185	0.670590218
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	Automotive	Renewables	Electricity generation and networks	Nuclear	Thermal power and combustion equipment	Oil and gas	Other
2010	24.40129482	4.086111605	11.94983281	1.078663724	5.437226573	19.42022801	1.448412696
2011	30.75360361	4.888633083	12.40012725	1.23136692	5.851023924	43.15375371	1.775716091
2012	31.55546201	5.562585593	12.76715078	1.129204395	6.220268618	32.8630639	2.244446315
2013	35.02901651	4.942020586	12.34010859	1.129183302	5.780829895	32.57185752	2.894004622
2014	35.88341919	5.259265541	12.57595756	1.095051597	5.819207139	33.22129218	2.881029037
2015	36.31985874	5.335049557	13.4130463	1.099778717	5.628581541	21.81265661	3.215231623
2016	38.81893906	5.680074764	14.57679978	1.113939219	5.433347172	20.59237873	3.264286858
2017	39.82620496	5.730766641	15.33280386	1.173278838	5.51803247	18.39967208	4.196043173
2018E	41.97104826	6.104542711	15.88810282	1.317823475	5.696256428	18.5159835	4.307292057
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	Transport	Solar	Bioenergy	Other renewables	Energy efficiency	Other clean energy	Other energy
Avg. 2007-2011	0.36261495	0.969517393	0.325778763	0.224807111	0.734683387	0.499278205	0.101653017
2012	0.174021308	0.217109288	0.158632651	0.071287972	0.45665826	0.472649765	0.100364717
2013	0.502000069	0.136997553	0.085121796	0.064618673	0.516554943	0.320327482	0.123966715
2014	0.432045975	0.223762535	0.084511729	0.069278027	0.528618726	0.362831588	0.108877738
2015	0.535012713	0.2358942	0.148042901	0.043385222	0.381109525	0.281285417	0.170795991
2016	2.921751547	0.205411131	0.15601542	0.033784929	0.38481693	0.178074316	0.120297975
2017	1.925326397	0.142874751	0.062030915	0.037308926	0.426400957	0.327512445	0.098812502
2018	5.443411536	0.195298292	0.013259147	0.008937551	0.493820512	0.571981024	0.203516111
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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


The IEA’s latest and most comprehensive assessment of clean energy transitions shows that only 7 out of 45 technologies and sectors are on track with the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS): solar photovoltaics (PV), bioenergy for power, energy storage, electric vehicles (EVs), rail, lighting  and data centres. Of the others, 22 need improvement and 16 are off track.

Status of 45 technologies and sectors tracked by the IEA
Hover for more information

Innovation gaps by sector

The latest IEA analysis of RD&D priorities identifies the key technology “innovation gaps” that need to be filled in order to meet long-term clean energy transitions goals. In 2019, we highlight over 100 innovation gaps across 39 key technologies in six main areas:

Power Renewable Power Fuel supply Industry Transport Buildings

Learn more about the innovation gaps methodology

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. More information about the Sustainable Energy Innovation work of the World Economic Forum can be accessed here.