Technological change will be crucial in the electricity sector, as power generation stands for between one-third and one-half of all global CO2 emissions. Global electricity use can also be expected to increase. CCS and PV technologies play major roles in most scenarios for abatement (reduction) of greenhouse gas emissions, and to make the necessary reductions will require additional development and innovation.
Electricity generation is one of the least innovative sectors in the economy. It is dominated by a few main technologies, private sector R&D spending is relatively low, and the product is ‘invisible’ to the consumer. Technological change is also slow-moving: investments are big, infrastructure is long-lived, and markets do not form easily. Yet the challenge of limiting climate change must be met within the lifetime of a single power plant.