BRIMCS countries, and especially China, outspending IEA countries in energy RD&D
17 December 2010
|Renewable energy targets and energy priority areas in the BRIMCS countries (not listed in order of importance or emphasis). Data: Kempener et al. Click to enlarge.|
A team of Harvard Kennedy School researchers has found that the governments of six key developing countries—Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, China, and South Africa, known as the BRIMCS countries—spent more on energy technology research, development, and demonstration in 2008 than the governments of the world’s two dozen richest countries, combined.
The study, by the Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, found that a minimum of $13.8 billion was invested by central governments and 100% government-owned enterprises in energy RD&D in the BRIMCS countries. The majority of these funds (82%) came from 100% government owned enterprises in China.
In comparison, total national and regional government investments in IEA countries were $12.7 billion dollars. The disparity, according to the lead researcher for the study, Ruud Kempener, would doubtless have been higher had all state-owned companies and local government investments in the BRIMCS countries been included as part as government expenditure rather than solely 100% government-owned firms.
The study collected and analyzed data on energy technology research investments and energy technology innovation (ETI) policies in the BRIMCS countries from 2000 to 2008. These six countries consume more than one third of the world’s energy, and they have become major players in the world’s energy sector. Despite their important role in their energy sector, little has been known about their energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) investments.
|Renewable energy targets and energy technology priority areas in the BRIMCS countries (priorities are not listed in order of importance or emphasis.) Source: Kempener et al. Click to enlarge.|
The International Energy Agency (IEA), an organization coordinating the interests of large energy-consuming countries since 1974, is the only organization that systematically collects energy RD&D data from its members, but the BRIMCS countries are still not members.
The results of our study make a strong case for including the BRIMCS governments in any global discussion around energy technology innovation and cooperation.—Laura Anadon, the director of ETIP and co-author of the study
The report also emphasized that in order to compare total investment levels, more systematic and comparable methods of data reporting are required, particularly on private energy RD&D investments in both the BRIMCS countries and the IEA member countries.
For example, China’s government expenditure includes data on science and technology activities in 100% government-owned energy companies; we had to assume that this expenditure is not used to operate or purchase technologies that are already commercial available because of the lack of information about what fraction of those activities can be considered to be energy RD&D.—Laura Anadon
This working paper also provides a comparative systemic analysis of government-initiated ETI activities. The aim of this analysis is to allow the identification of opportunities for collaboration within the governments of the BRIMCS countries and between the governments of the BRIMCS countries and those of other countries. These collaborations could take the form of cooperation or could involve coordination of activities in different countries.
The analysis distinguishes between three analytically separate, but interrelated components of a country’s innovation system:
- The administrative entities and procedures that set the direction of government support for ETI activities;
- The allocation mechanisms for energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) support; and
- The most important energy technology innovation institutions (ETIIs) and policies (ETIPs) that the government puts in place to accelerate ETI.
Each country analysis concludes with a comparative framework that provides a simple and systematic overview of the number of policies that each country uses to support the different stages, actors, and functions of its energy technology innovation system.
On the basis of these comparative frameworks and the data gathered, the study concludes with three high-level recommendations for areas where the BRIMCS countries can cooperate or coordinate with each other to accelerate ETI: demonstration projects, support for entrepreneurial opportunities, and coordination and learning from each other the best policies to support the deployment of renewable technologies.
Kempener, Ruud, Laura D. Anadon, and Jose Condor. “Governmental Energy Innovation Investments, Policies and Institutions in the Major Emerging Economies: Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, China, and South Africa.” Discussion Paper 2010-16, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, November 2010
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