Denmark Austria Switzerland Belgium Sweden New Zealand Finland Australia Spain 100 The size of the bubble indicates public spending on a per-capita basis. Figure 13: Public-sector low-carbon R&D spending per capita as a function of GDP per capita and CO2
emissions Source: IEA (2010b)
to address both climate mitigation and adaptation (UNFCCC 2010). However, the exact functioning of the mechanism’s two components – the Technology Executive Committee and the Climate Technology Centre and Network – remains to be specified.
Market failures in innovation notwithstanding, considerable cumulative benefits can accrue to countries that generate first-mover advantages from leading development in the renewable energy sector. Simulation economic
modelling has competitiveness
how overall when
country or region, in this case the EU, commits itself to unilateral climate-change mitigation action involving the penetration of renewables on a large scale (Barker and Scrieciu 2009).
5.6 Technology transfer and skills
Technology transfer is the flow of knowledge, experience and equipment from one area to another. Often, technology transfer is exclusively seen as being from an industrialised country to a developing country, but it can also be between developing countries or even from urban areas to rural areas.
Like other new technologies, renewable energy faces barriers that relate to technology transfer. Before a technology can be transferred successfully, enabling conditions need to be fulfilled, such as institutional and adaptive capacity, access to finance, and both codified and tacit knowledge of the technology. In developing countries, especially in remote rural areas, however,
A related issue is skill shortages. Employment in the renewable energy industry requires some skills that do not necessarily coincide with those found in the traditional energy industry. In Germany, for example, the renewable energy industry has recently experienced a shortage of skilled workers. Lehr et al. (2008) reported that almost all energy sub-sectors lack skilled workers, the most acute shortage being skills in hydro energy, biogas and biomass technologies. Wind- energy companies in Europe have also reported an acute shortage of highly-skilled workers. The shortage is most pressing for manufacturing and development, particularly engineering, operations and management, and site-management activities. The sector also needs skilled employees in R&D.
such conditions are often not present. Even when the economic feasibility of renewable energy options in those areas is favourable, these barriers can prevent their application.
Recent studies have argued that, in order to allow developing countries to adopt renewable energy technologies in the local and regional context, the capacity to maintain and operate the systems is not sufficient by itself; indigenous innovation capabilities also need to be addressed (Ockwell et al. 2009; Bazilian et al. 2008; United Nations 2011). The required capabilities to undergo the process of adaptive innovation are considerable and depend on a knowledge infrastructure usually encompassing centralised R&D and requiring higher levels of education. Indeed, the flows of technology and knowledge are of vital importance for technology transfer to developing countries (Ockwell et al. 2009).