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Popp paper on renewable energy policies and technological innovation published in ERE

Aug 18, 2009

Renewable Energy Policies and Technological Innovation: Evidence Based on Patent Counts

Nick Johnstone, Ivan Haščič & David Popp

Environmental and Resource Economics, August 2009

David Popp

David Popp

This paper examines the effect of environmental policies on technological innovation in the specific case of renewable energy. The analysis is conducted using patent data on a panel of 25 countries over the period 1978–2003. The authors find that public policy plays a significant role in determining patent applications. Different types of policy instruments are effective for different renewable energy sources. Broad-based policies, such as tradable energy certificates, are more likely to induce innovation on technologies that are close to competitive with fossil fuels. More targeted subsidies, such as feed-in tariffs, are needed to induce innovation on more costly energy technologies, such as solar power.