New Innovation System Urged for Developing Renewable Energy

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Two U.S. energy experts are calling for a new strategy to develop renewable energy, including the creation of regional programs to drive innovation of new technologies.

Richard Lester of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and David Hart of George Mason University say that current strategies — which have failed to create broad public support for bold action — should be replaced with programs that highlight the benefits of energy innovation to individuals and the nation.

In a new book, Unlocking Energy Innovation, the two men call for a bottom-up approach to energy innovation that begins with an emphasis on energy efficiency and improving gas mileage, moves to a mid-range strategy of reducing the costs and risks of developing low-carbon sources of energy and better electricity-storage technologies, and then ends in several decades with the deployment of fundamentally new energy technologies based on advances in fields such as materials science and catalysis.

The pair recommends that a regional, rather than a federal, approach be taken to manage and finance this three-stage process of innovation.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.