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New energy innovation report highlights central role of emerging economies

High-Energy Innovation report from CSPO & The Breakthrough Institute
December 10, 2014

Innovation in clean energy technologies is a truly global phenomenon, and the most active efforts to develop next-generation technologies are in rapidly industrializing countries, where energy demand is high and deployment opportunities are abundant.

From advanced nuclear reactor technologies in China and solar projects in Brazil to South African experiments in clean coal and Indian shale gas exploration, the global landscape for clean energy innovation has never been more fertile.

To take advantage of these opportunities, governments must strengthen international collaborative efforts to supply the global public of clean, cheap energy, says a new report from a group of 12 energy scholars. High-Energy Innovation is the second of three reports in the Climate Pragmatism project, a partnership of Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes and The Breakthrough Institute.

High-Energy Innovation evaluates four clean energy technologies – shale gas, carbon capture and storage, nuclear, and solar – and finds that, in all cases, industrializing countries are making significant investments and leveraging international collaborations in order to make energy cleaner, cheaper and more reliable.

Nearly all of the growth in energy markets and the majority of new energy technologies deployed in the next several decades are projected to occur in the developing world. “It is [in non-OECD countries] that we should expect to see – and should work hardest to accelerate – energy innovation,” write the authors. Among the report’s authors are Gary Dirks, director of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, and consortium co-director Daniel Sarewitz.

Through a series of detailed maps, High-Energy Innovation charts energy innovation in shale gas, carbon capture and storage, nuclear, and solar currently underway worldwide. By leveraging high-growth markets in support of advancing important clean energy technologies, the report argues that this globalized “high-energy innovation” offers the most pragmatic path toward modernity in emerging economies and the best chance to develop and scale cheap, clean, abundant energy in all nations.