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Financing green growth

Working paper from UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) discusses challenges and opportunities of financing green growth in the energy sector.

Financing green growth

26 June 2018

UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP)
Working Paper

Ref: IIPP WP 2018-04

Gregor Semieniuk
Honorary Senior Research Associate, IIPP

Mariana Mazzucato
Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value
Director, IIPP

Abstract

This paper surveys the current state of financing green growth in the energy sector, based on the insight that there are different qualities of finance. In past transformational changes in other sectors, public monies played a key role across the innovation landscape. Public financing was central also in a number of past national energy transitions, as reviewed here for Iceland (from fossil to geothermal energy), Norway (from mainly non-electricity energy to hydroelectricity), France (from oil to nuclear) and the United States (from conventional to shale gas). In the current transition to low-carbon energy supplies, there is much public activity, most directed and concerted in China, but also reasons to doubt it is enough and applied in the right places to be able to finance the transition to a low carbon sector on time scales consistent with current climate change mitigation targets. A discussion of opportunities and challenges to a more central role for public financing concludes, drawing also on insights from the recent mission-oriented innovation literature.

 

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