Promoting Energy Innovation with Lessons from Drug Development

Publication Type:



The Hamilton Project, The Hamilton Project, Washington, DC (2017)



Accelerating energy innovation is both a necessary part of climate change mitigation and a spur to economic growth, but there are a number of institutional challenges that make such innovation particularly difficult in energy technology. By comparison, the system for bringing new technologies to market in pharmaceuticals is more effective. We consider three aspects of the pharmaceutical innovation system that might be instructive for policy makers who want to advance energy innovation: (1) the availability of contract organizations to perform specialized research, (2) a centralized regulatory framework for staged trials, and (3) public financial support for research when costs are greater than potential private payoffs.