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HKS Authors

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James R. Schlesinger Professor of the Practice of Energy, National Security, and Foreign Policy


How will countries provide the reliable, affordable energy needed to fuel a growing world economy and lift billions of people out of poverty without causing catastrophic climate change and other environmental disasters? Answering this question is perhaps the greatest challenge human civilization faces in the 21st century. It cannot be done without a revolution in the technologies of both energy production and use. And for that revolution to arrive in time will require a dramatic acceleration in the pace at which new or improved energy technologies are invented, demonstrated, and adopted in the marketplace. This book outlines policies the U.S. federal government in particular can adopt to foster such an energy technology revolution. These approaches will help meet the myriad energy challenges of the 21st century – and help ensure that the United States plays a leading role in doing so, capturing its share of the multi-trillion-dollar energy technology markets of the coming decades. This book seeks to answer four basic questions. First, how much should the U.S. government spend on energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D), and how should that money be allocated? Second, how can the U.S. government best work with the private sector and encourage it to invest its own funds in researching, developing, demonstrating, and deploying new energy technologies? Third, how can the U.S. government manage its energy RD&D investments and the institutions through which they flow to get the most beneficial energy innovation per dollar invested? Fourth, how can the U.S. government best manage competition and cooperation with other countries in energy technology innovation?


Bunn, Matthew, Laura Diaz Anadon, and Venkatesh Narayanamurti. "The Need to Transform U.S. Energy Innovation." Transforming US Energy Innovation. Ed. Laura Diaz Anadon, Matthew Bunn, and Venkatesh Narayanamurti. Cambridge University Press, August 2014, 1-35.