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The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology: Lessons from China (Urban and Industrial Environments)

The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology: Lessons from China (Urban and Industrial Environments)

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Publication Date: February 24th, 2017
The MIT Press
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An examination of barriers that impede and incentives that motivate the global development and deployment of cleaner energy technologies, with case studies from China.

The development and deployment of cleaner energy technologies have become globalized phenomena. Yet despite the fact that energy-related goods account for more than ten percent of international trade, policy makers, academics, and the business community perceive barriers to the global diffusion of these emerging technologies. Experts point to problems including intellectual property concerns, trade barriers, and developing countries' limited access to technology and funding. In this book, Kelly Gallagher uses analysis and case studies from China's solar photovoltaic, gas turbine, advanced battery, and coal gasification industries to examine both barriers and incentives in clean energy technology transfer.

Gallagher finds that the barriers are not as daunting as many assume; these technologies already cross borders through foreign direct investment, licensing, joint R&D, and other channels. She shows that intellectual property infringement is not as widespread as business leaders fear and can be managed, and that firms in developing countries show considerable resourcefulness in acquiring technology legally. She finds that financing does present an obstacle, especially when new cleaner technologies compete with entrenched, polluting, and often government-subsidized traditional technologies. But the biggest single barrier, she finds, is the failure of government to provide sensible policy incentives. The case studies show how government, through market-formation policy, can unleash global market forces. Gallagher's findings have theoretical significance as well; she proposes a new model of global technology diffusion that casts doubt on aspects of technology transfer theory.

About the Author

Kelly Sims Gallagher is Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy at Tufts University's Fletcher School. From 2014 to 2015 she served as Senior Policy Adviser in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and in the U.S. State Department's Senior Envoy for Climate Change Office. She is the author of China Shifts Gears and The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology, both published by the MIT Press.

Praise for The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology: Lessons from China (Urban and Industrial Environments)

This useful book—a thorough piece of practical research—looks closely at how clean energy technologies such as gas turbines, advanced batteries, solar photovoltaics, and coal gasification emerged and spread to China.—Foreign Affairs