Stimulating investment in energy materials and technologies to combat climate change: an overview of learning curve analysis and niche market support

T. J. Foxon
2010 Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences  
This paper addresses the probable levels of investment needed in new technologies for energy conversion and storage that are essential to address climate change, drawing on past evidence on the rate of cost improvements in energy technologies. A range of energy materials and technologies with lower carbon emissions over their life cycle are being developed, including fuel cells (FCs), hydrogen storage, batteries, supercapacitors, solar energy and nuclear power, and it is probable that most, if
more » ... able that most, if not all, of these technologies will be needed to mitigate climate change. High rates of innovation and deployment will be needed to meet targets such as the UK's goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, which will require significant levels of investment. Learning curves observed for reductions in unit costs of energy technologies, such as photovoltaics and FCs, can provide evidence on the probable future levels of investment needed. The paper concludes by making recommendations for policy measures to promote such investment from both the public and private sectors.
doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0106 pmid:20566519 fatcat:6c7er7257jewrdpswbbgxyy5da