Less than 1% of Europe’s €48 billion in renewable energy subsidies has been spent on energy storage research and development, a British economist has asserted.
Speaking this week at the Energy Storage World Forum in London, Lord Layard, economist and programme director at the London School of Economics Centre for Economic Performance, rubbished Europe’s spending on the energy storage sector and said global collaboration is necessary to move the field forward.
In January Layard and Sir David King, a former government science advisor, proposed a ‘viral’ global campaign to secure international funding for the development of renewable energy storage technologies.
“We need a big programme; it’s not something we can debate endlessly about, we need action now. It’s not a distant promise, the technology is here,” King said in January. This week Layard reiterated the call.
In the consumer electronics sector, he said roughly 5% of companies’ profits are fed back into R&D– but in the energy sector that figure is more like 2%. The difference must be addressed with public funding, he argued, suggesting that a contribution of 0.2% of annual GDP from the word’s large economies would generate significant results.
Also at the conference, energy firms and battery companies emphasised the need for standardisation and a regulatory framework for energy storage. Industry insiders agreed that standardising technologies would offer a growing sector economies of scale and competitiveness in current and potential markets.