Center for Environmental Policy and Administration

Renewable Energy Policies and Technological Innovation: Evidence Based on Patent Counts

Author:David Popp with Nick Johnstone and Ivan Hascic
Date: October 2008

This paper examines the effect of environmental policies on technological innovation in the specific case of renewable energy. The analysis is conducted using patent data on a panel of 25 countries over the period 19782003. We find that public policy plays a significant role in determining patent applications. Different types of policy instruments are effective for different renewable energy sources. Broad-based policies, such as tradable energy certificates, are more likely to induce innovation on technologies that are close to competitive with fossil fuels. More targeted subsidies, such as feed-in tariffs, are needed to induce innovation on more costly energy technologies, such as solar power.


David Popp
Center for Environmental Policy and Administration
The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 11/05/2010 06:39:41