Measuring the energy innovation process : an indicator framework and a case study of wind energy in China

Hu, Rui and Skea, Jim and Hannon, Matthew J. (2018) Measuring the energy innovation process : an indicator framework and a case study of wind energy in China. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 127. pp. 227-244. ISSN 0040-1625 (

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Whilst a well-established literature on metrics to assess innovation performance exists, relatively little work has linked it to the energy technology innovation process. This paper systematically brings together indicator sets and derives an indicator framework for measuring energy innovation, offering an important step forward in the quantitative evaluation of energy innovation performance. It incorporates input, output and outcome metrics that relate to different stages along the energy technology innovation chain, namely research, development, demonstration, market formation and diffusion. To test its efficacy, the indicator framework is applied to the case of wind energy in China, drawing comparisons against global market leaders such as Denmark, Germany and the USA. The paper finds that the framework enables a more rigorous comparative analysis of energy innovation between countries than currently offered by either the application of piecemeal indicators and complements contextually rich qualitative case studies. The empirical analysis shows that China has begun to lead across a range of innovation inputs (e.g. R&D expenditure) and outputs (e.g. publications) but lags considerably behind international competitors against other output and outcome indicators such as patents, revenue and exports.