Articles

109 Items

an operator inspects a photolithography tool used to manufacture these solar cells.

Daniel Derkacs/SolarJunction

Journal Article - Research Policy

Governments as Partners: The Role of Alliances in U.S. Cleantech Startup Innovation

Accelerating innovation in clean energy technologies is a policy priority for governments around the world aiming to mitigate climate change and to provide affordable energy. Most research has focused on the role of governments financing R&D and steering market demand, but there is a more limited understanding of the role of direct government interactions with startups across all sectors. The authors  propose and evaluate the value-creation mechanisms of network resources from different types of partners for startups, highlighting the unique resources of government partners for cleantech startups. 

Solar panels at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory gather sunlight at the test facility

AP/Jack Dempsey

Journal Article - MRS Energy & Sustainability

Nurturing Transformative U.S. Energy Research: Two Guiding Principles

The authors raise for debate and discussion what in their opinion is a growing mis-control and mis-protection of U.S. energy research. They outline the origin of this mis-control and mis-protection, and propose two guiding principles to mitigate them and instead nurture research: (1) focus on people, not projects; and (2) culturally insulate research from development, but not science from technology.

newer design of a nuclear reactor

DOE/Advanced Reactor Technology

Journal Article - Nature Energy

A Tortoise Approach for US Nuclear Research and Development

| July 30, 2018

In Aesop's fable, a swift hare races with a deliberate tortoise. In the end, the tortoise wins by taking a slow and steady approach. The authors argue that, given the economic constraints on US deployment of nuclear power, a "tortoise strategy" is more prudent for US government nuclear R&D efforts.

Dr. Arun Majumdar

DOE/Ken Shipp

Journal Article - Research Policy

Simultaneous Pursuit of Discovery and Invention in the US Department of Energy

There is a sharp boundary between basic and applied research in the organizational structure of the US Department of Energy (DOE). In this work, the authors consider a branch of DOE that was designed to operate across this boundary: the Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy (ARPA-E). They hypothesize that much of energy research cannot be neatly categorized as basic or applied and is more productive outside of the confines of the basic/applied dichotomy; ARPA-E provides an opportunity to test that hypothesis.

Gazprom sign in Moscow.

Martin Griffiths

Journal Article - Post-Soviet Affairs

Understanding Russia’s energy turn to China: domestic narratives and national identity priorities

| Dec. 22, 2017

This study investigates whether, as part of a broader “Asian Energy Pivot,” Russia’s energy giant Gazprom refashioned its export strategy away from Europe, and what impact such a reorientation might have on the EU–Russia gas relationship. It uses four empirical cases to emphasize the domestic movers underlying Russia’s eastward shift in energy trade, developing a constructivist theory rooted in the dynamics of Russia’s dominant public narrative and the contours of domestic politics. It argues that Russia’s national interests changed as a result of how Russian policy-makers interpreted and reacted to the stand-off with Europe, in response to what they perceived as Europe’s attempt to isolate it economically and geopolitically. 

Solar One power plant

NREL

Journal Article - Nature Energy

Policy Sequencing toward Decarbonization

| November 2017

Many economists have long held that carbon pricing—either through a carbon tax or cap-and-trade—is the most cost-effective way to decarbonize energy systems, along with subsidies for basic research and development. Meanwhile, green innovation and industrial policies aimed at fostering low-carbon energy technologies have proliferated widely. Most of these predate direct carbon pricing. Low-carbon leaders such as California and the European Union (EU) have followed a distinct policy sequence that helps overcome some of the political challenges facing low-carbon policy by building economic interest groups in support of decarbonization and reducing the cost of technologies required for emissions reductions. However, while politically effective, this policy pathway faces significant challenges to environmental and cost effectiveness.

Wind turbines in a rapeseed field in Sandesneben, Germany

Flickr/Jürgen Guerito

Journal Article - Nature

The G20 must govern the shift to low-carbon energy

| June 07, 2017

The world's energy system needs rebuilding. The Paris agreement to keep global warming “well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels” demands that we replace fossil fuels with solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy. The price tag is vast: investing US$120 trillion in energy projects between 2016 and 2050, at twice the current annual rate of $1.8 trillion a year, will deliver a 66% chance of achieving the Paris target. We must halve oil production and stop using coal to produce electricity.

lithium-ion battery

AP

Journal Article - Nature Energy

Integrating Uncertainty into Public Energy Research and Development Decisions

| 2017

As the threats of climate change and economic instability loom large, public energy investment can seem like roll of the dice. Now, new research has analyzed scientific publications to identify the "good bets" for governments committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions even in the face of growing constraints on public R&D budgets.

Journal Article - Global Environmental Politics

Leadership and the Energiewende: German Leadership by Diffusion

| November 2016

The German energy transition—or Energiewende—stands out globally as one of the most prominent and widely discussed plans to transform an energy system. However, the ways in which Germany can and does promote the diffusion of its model remain to be systematically reviewed. Aiming at closing this gap, this article develops an analytical framework for "leadership by diffusion" and applies it to the Energiewende.

Scientists at DOE's Sandia National Labs.

Sandia Labs/DOE

Journal Article - Nature Energy

The Pressing Energy Innovation Challenge of the US National Laboratories

Accelerating the development and deployment of energy technologies is a pressing challenge. Doing so will require policy reform that improves the efficacy of public research organizations and strengthens the links between public and private innovators. With their US$14 billion annual budget and unique mandates, the US National Laboratories have the potential to critically advance energy innovation, yet reviews of their performance find several areas of weak organizational design. This article discusses the challenges the National Laboratories face in engaging the private sector, increasing their contributions to transformative research, and developing culture and management practices to better support innovation. The authors also offer recommendations for how policymakers can address these challenges.