Tracking PublicInvestment in EnergyTechnology Research –A Roadmap

Tracking public energy research development and demonstration Reducing global CO2 emissions to net zero by 2050 is consistent with efforts to limit the long‐term increase in average global temperatures to 1.5 C. This calls for nothing less than a complete transformation of how we produce, transport and consume energy. Without a major acceleration in clean energy innovation, reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will not be achievable. Estimations show that technologies that are available on the market today could provide nearly all of the emissions reductions required by 2030 to put the world on track for net zero emissions by 2050. However, reaching this target will require the widespread use after 2030 of technologies that are still at the research, development and demonstration (RD&D) stage today. This need is even bigger in sectors such as heavy industry and long‐distance transport. Major innovation efforts are vital so that the technologies necessary for net‐zero emissions can reach markets as soon as possible.

The IEA collects annual energy RD&D data using a standardised questionnaire that classifies energy technologies into four levels of detail within seven high-level categories: energy efficiency, fossil fuels, renewable energy, nuclear, hydrogen and fuel cells, other power and storage technologies, and cross-cutting. Based on this data collection, the IEA releases its dataset of public investment in energy RD&D online. For example, the latest data show that the global investment of IEA members in 2021 was almost USD 23 billion. Since 2021, the dataset also includes data shared by Brazil, the first non-member country of the IEA to contribute to the database.

The IEA dataset is made possible through the significant efforts of governments to compile energy RD&D data. While each government has historically designed its most appropriate approach to collecting and sharing national energy RD&D data, the IEA has seen the value in exchanging knowledge across country experts. To accurately track all flows of funds, a number of common steps must be followed regardless of the national context.

As described in this document, the different methodologies followed by countries to compile energy RD&D statistics are grouped into six phases and 11 steps. These six phases are: purpose and objectives; institutional arrangement; collection, classification and validation; data management and technology; data dissemination; and continuous improvement. These phases can be followed in sequence for countries near the beginning of their journeys towards energy RD&D data collection but also independently for countries that are redesigning specific areas of the process. While the phases described in this report follow an order, they can be considered in parallel depending on the context of each country.

As mentioned earlier, the IEA describes here possible options for countries to follow during the design of their energy RD&D data collection systems. Each country’s situation is different, and governments should see this report as a toolbox to adapt to their individual situations. This roadmap is an initial step that aims to be the basis for further exchanges between countries, and the IEA is happy to provide further support to any country that wants to improve or set up its data collection system.

Funding institutions and major programmes The main sources of funding for energy RD&D are the federal ministries and the Climate and Energy Fund. These funds are mainly transferred to the research institutions through the national funding agencies. In 2021, almost three-quarters of this expenditure was provided by governmental authorities (federal and regional funding organisations). The remaining part came from (publicly funded) research institutions and universities provided with equity capital.

Austria’s national funding agencies assign a significant share of financial resources provided by federal budgets to energy RD&D. In 2021, EUR 163 million was contracted via these institutions. Collection, classification and validation process Every year, aligned with the IEA deadlines, MITECO asks the Ministry of Science and Innovation to send the IEA questionnaire to the two funding agencies: AEI and CDTI. This process is done exclusively to report to the IEA. There are other RD&D data collection processes in parallel, but none of them is exclusive to the energy field. There are internal discussions to harmonise this process with the general RD&D data collection process.


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