The Role of Innovation and Technology in Renewable Energy

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Renewable energy is an investment in our future. This article explores the role of innovation and technology in electricity production from renewable sources in Europe, the Former Soviet Union, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and North America. It analyzes the major challenges—in terms of technology and population skills needed to use it—that impact each of these regions in moving toward a more environmentally friendly generation and use of energy. We find that specific regional characteristics, together with the number of patent applications and the level of skills enabling work with advanced technologies of a country, have a substantial effect on its renewable electricity output. We find no evidence that broad Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) fosters renewables.