No Green Growth Without Innovation

Bruegel has published a new briefing note on the role for policy in encouraging ‘green’ innovation: you can read it here.

3 replies on “No Green Growth Without Innovation”

This is rather misleading. The crucial assumption, well hidden from the lay reader, is that dirty industry has an intrinsic advantage in R&D because of an historical externality. This second externality indeed justifies a second policy intervention, such as an R&D subsidy.

This is true in the AABH model. Is is also true in the real world? And if so, have we forgotten all the lessons about subsidising R&D?

@ Richard,

Good points. I am beginning to identify something similar in how we develop cities.

When I look at dense urban development a lot of it powered by electricity I realise now I am only seeing the thin end of the wedge. I cannot see the vast infrastructure and committment required to supply this new development with power in the first place. I still cannot put my finger on it, but there is some kind of subsidy or loophole in the system here in Ireland. The power consumption density per m2 of certain developments is not being factored in. The more dense we get, the more ventilation you get, the less daylight you have, the more artificial lighting. The absence of any effort at smaller well organised community-based power production. The lack of effort at harnessing any bit of solar heat, from the sky or from the ground. That is the information economy in the cities.

I mean, that is one end of the spectrum. That is where you pack in stuff so tight on urban sites, you ignore a lot of available land use and energy use options. On the other end of the scale, it is equally as bad and as poorly regulated. In the suburbs of major Irish towns you will see a market for mock vintage country houses. Made to look like a country mansion for the snapshot in the property supplement of the paper. These things have a floor area of 6,000 sq. feet. They are the size of a community centre. They are Ireland’s Macmansions. Inevitably who buys them? You’ve guessed it. They are aimed squarely at the director of the local high tech research plant or production facility. What I mean is, the leaders in industry are not exactly leading by example when it comes to a roof over their own head.

Here is a renewable energy idea that I submitted to the Ideas Campaign in March 09. It was published on their website. The question is… Has anyone done anything about it since then ?… I doubt it somehow. In Ireland we are great at setting up committees/forums/talking shops to discuss such issues, but when it comes down to the wire, the powers that be, end up scuppering innovation.

The idea was as follows:

Renewable energy is literally racing past everyone on a global scale. By this I mean that electric energy could become a by-product of the latent energy of motorway traffic. Motorways are energy channels – they are like rivers. I visualise a technology to harness this passing energy as similar to that of windmill technology.

The mechanics of developing such a technology would be left up to the likes of the ESB or others. Energy harnessed would be delivered into the national grid. As motorists spit out their carbon omissions, the flip side of this negative action would be that road users would also be reclaiming a portion of the global carbon footprint.

Let’s face it, motorways exist – they are not going away any time soon, despite what some environmentalists might wish for.

Let’s be proactive and explore the negative aspects of mooring (i.e. carbon omissions) and turn this into a positive action. If we explore this idea, Ireland could be at the forefront of a global green initiative, and Ireland Inc could benefit financially from worldwide applications to an Irish led green innovation.

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