Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Link Between Policy and Innovation

Most of us intuitively recognize that laws can spur technology innovation.  But what about the other way around? Is there a certain threshold of technology availability and reliability necessary to motivate policy changes? That's the topic of an intriguing blog post here, which spotlights General Electric's policy and innovation study. The study, which comes complete with a new data visualizer, provides a graphic look at the prevalence of words like "wind" and "renewables" in GE's annual reports going back to 1892.  Take a look at wind:

GE wind

GE argues that the Energy Policy Act of 1992's production tax credits were key to the development of renewable energy technologies, like GE's industry standard 1.5-MW wind turbine.  It also links the availability of those technologies to policymakers' willingness to implement renewable portfolio standards in many states.

If GE is right, what investments should we be making now? What technologies need more policy support, and what new policies are ripe given the technology we have available now?

(H/T to my energy law students for bringing this study to class!)

--Emily Meazell

Current Affairs, Energy | Permalink

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