Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation

Project Expert

Varun Sivaram

Douglas Dillon Fellow and Acting Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change

About the Project

Mitigating climate change will require adopting breakthrough clean energy technologies at scale. But investment in innovation around the world is anemic—public spending on research and development (R&D) is paltry compared with other priorities like biomedical, space, and defense technology, and private R&D investment is even less forthcoming. I study why this is the case—for example, why Silicon Valley investors have recently fled the clean energy technology sector—and what to do about it. In particular, I argue that new technology is needed in solar power, and the rise of current-generation silicon solar panels could lock the world into an inferior technology that cannot effect the low-carbon energy transition the world needs. To make this case, I’m writing a book, “Supercharging Solar: How Innovation Can Unlock the Most Abundant Energy Source on the Planet.”

For more, please read some of my publications on clean energy innovation or visit my blog on Energy, Security, and Climate. Also, check out the course website for the class I teach on clean energy innovation at Georgetown University (STIA 402).