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A Strategic Energy Technology Policy towards 2050: No-Regret Strategies for European Technology Pussh

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Sophia Rüster, Sebastian Schwenen, Matthias Finger, Jean-Michel Glachant

In: International Journal of Energy Technology and Policy 9 (2013), 2, S. 160-174


As current policy frameworks are expiring soon, the EU is revisiting its energy technology policy for the post-2020 horizon. The main long-run objective for energy technology policy is to foster the achievement of ambitious EU goals for decarbonisation. We discuss how European energy technology policy towards 2050 can be effective despite: 1) uncertain carbon prices; 2) uncertain technological change; and 3) uncertain or alternating policy paradigms shifting the focus from decarbonisation towards competitiveness or energy supply security. Public support to innovation in energy technologies is needed to correct for market failures and imperfections, as well as to fully exploit trade opportunities of such technologies on global markets. Benefits from EU intervention can be expected from the coordination of national policies. Effective European technology push should put strong emphasis on pushing consumption-oriented and enabling technologies, as these offer a no-regret strategy vis-à-vis any future context.

Keywords: European energy technology policy; decarbonisation; innovation; uncertain policy context; technology push; carbon prices; technological change; competitiveness; energy supply security; national policies; policy coordination