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The COVID-19 recovery response from the UK government should include R&D investment to foster the energy transition, writes Prof. Laura Diaz Anadon in a new blog post for Cambridge Zero

last modified May 22, 2020 11:29 AM

 

The COVID-19 recovery response from the UK government should include increased and well-targeted R&D investments to foster the energy transition and a more sustainable economy, writes Prof. Laura Diaz Anadon in a new blog post for Cambridge Zero.

Including a critical energy-transition R&D investment component as part of the COVID-19 recovery presents a unique opportunity to:

  1. Build a more productive and resilient economy by addressing the relatively low R&D intensity of the UK economy; and

  1. Deliver large benefits to society by concentrating efforts in R&D to enable the energy transition in areas such as energy storage, next generation renewables, buildings, industry, shipping, and aviation, among others.

These are not only economic growth areas, but also areas with the potential to yield additional public health, climate, and broader environmental benefits.

In designing this COVID-19 Recovery R&D component, the UK can build on relatively recent evidence indicating that in the energy space there are examples of public R&D support mechanisms that can advance both innovation and competitiveness. This evidence points to the importance of ramping up funds for R&D, increasing support for R&D in firms (particularly for SMEs), further investing in facilities, trialling a UK version of ARPA-E, and supporting selected demonstration projects to overcome ‘the valley of death’. The UK should build on its own experience of ramping up efforts, but also avoid past volatility.

Compared to other parts of a COVID-19 Recovery package, R&D investments focused on the energy transition should make up a small fraction of the budget. Whilst inexpensive, they are an essential component of any package.

Read the full blog post at Cambridge Zero.