IEA CERT-EGRD Discussion: Evaluating the impacts of energy innovation policies
The preparation of this CERT/EGRD thematic discussion is led by the the Experts' Group on R&D Priority-Setting and Evaluation (EGRD) with support from the IEA Secreteriat. The CERT co-ordinates and promotes the development, demonstration and deployment of technologies to meet challenges in the energy sector.
GRD is an informal advisory group under CERT with the role of supporting CERT delegates with advice on R&D priority-setting and the linkage to governmental policy objectives, methods and approaches for evaluation of R&D activities, and understanding of emerging and systematic R&D topics.
There is a growing recognition of the need to accelerate the development and improvement of clean energy technologies globally to enhance our ability to follow net-zero emission pathways. Initiatives like Mission Innovation have helped to grow public R&D funding for clean energy in many countries, and they take a variety of policy approaches to supporting researchers and entrepreneurs. Evidence about which support mechanisms most effectively drive clean energy innovations, and under which conditions, could help governments to adopt best practice in innovation policy design to meet clean energy goals.
Structured and comparable evaluations can contribute to the policy-making process in different ways: it facilitates learning about the impact of policy options nationally and internationally; it supports accountability for public spending; and it establishes the legitimacy of proposed new interventions. For each purpose, governments are looking to ensure that they have the best understanding and metrics to assess the efficiency, effectiveness and relevance of innovation policies, and are developing frameworks for evaluation approaches and data collection.
The CERT-EGRD thematic discussion's main goal is to bring together practitioners from governments with distinguished international scholars to exchange experiences and recommendations about how to design and implement evaluations clean energy innovation policies effecitiveness, from R&D funding programmes to broader support for the energy innovation ecosystem, as well as how to use these findings to improve policy design.
The virtual workshop will facilitate discussion around a number of key questions that face policy makers and could initiate a forum for ongoing exchanges of experiences with embedding evaluation in policy design.
- What are the overarching energy policy objectives to be measured? Can they be quantified with accuracy or are there ways to use qualitative tracking?
- Over what time horizons should performance against different policy objectives be evaluated?
- Can ex-ante impact assessments and ex-post evaluations use a common set of metrics, i.e. embedding evaluation and data collection in programme design from the outset?
- Do different types of interventions (R&D grants, demonstration co-funding, support to entrepreneurs, knowledge networks) need different quantitative metrics, or is there a unified set of metrics that can be used for comparisons?
- How can counterfactuals or control groups be introduced to indicate what might have happened without the policy intervention? Are any countries using such methods for energy innovation policy evaluation?
- Are there examples of existing government processes to learn from evaluation and ensure that the findings feed into policy making?
- How can governments share the findings from their evaluations internationally in a timely manner?
Expected outputs and outcomes
A public summary report on the IEA website of the main discussion points, challenges and recommendations. Possible follow-up workshops on topics of interest to the participants, depending on interest. In the longer term, a forum for regular exchange of experiences and findings between governments and experts could be supported.