Innovation Priorities to Transform the Energy System: An overview for policy makers

May 2018
ISBN : 978-92-9260-065-5

Technological innovation is crucial to enable progress in the transformation of the global energy system. However, policy makers need to refresh the priorities in such innovation to address new challenges, such as integrating high shares of renewable power and electrifying transport, industry and buildings.

Along with technological research, development and demonstration (RD&D), support for innovation should encompass new business models, policies, processes and market design.

This brief from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) provides a high-level overview of priorities to accelerate technological and systemic innovation. It describes the status of the global transition to renewables, discusses the role of innovation and government support, and highlights priorities for increased government action and international co-operation.

Other IRENA publications are highlighted throughout for further reading on key topics.

As the brief notes, more support and co-operation are particularly needed to spur innovation in several key areas. These include:

  • integration and operation of the energy system (systemic innovation);
  • industrial processes – particularly cement, iron and steel, and chemicals;
  • transport.