Most clean energy advocates believe that the world has all the low-carbon technologies needed to effectively address climate change. In their view – what we describe as the Clean Energy Deployment Consensus – the world doesn’t need technology breakthroughs, but political breakthroughs to drive widespread deployment of clean energy technologies. This translates to a policy environment heavily weighted towards deployment subsidies, mandates, and carbon prices.
But The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) argues in its new report, “Challenging the Clean Energy Deployment Consensus,” that the world needs a more comprehensive Innovation Consensus that focuses on developing and deploying affordable clean energy technologies that are cost- and performance-competitive with fossil fuels. This strategy includes investing significantly more in science, research, technology development, pilot projects, and demonstration, as well as innovation-based ‘smart’ deployment policies such as government procurement and performance-based technology incentives.
Does the world have all the clean energy technologies it needs to reach transformative change? Are new, impactful clean energy technologies within close reach with additional policy support for innovation?