America's innovation gap, cont'd
Joshua Freed, director of Third Way's clean-energy program, e-mails to say that however bad innovation may be in the private sector as a whole, it's even worse in the energy sector:
In the U.S., the private sector barely invests in any energy research. Where U.S. industries, as a whole, spend an average of 2.6%of their revenue on R&D, the energy industry invests a paltry 0.23% of revenue on any kind of research -- clean or conventional. This includes funding for expensive research into conventional fuels, such as ultra-deep water drilling and new oil refining techniques.
This stands in stark contrast with the hyper-competitive pharmaceutical industry, where new drugs supplant old ones every year. Pharmaceutical companies spend 19% of revenues, or about $39 billion each year on R&D. Even the American automakers still invest $17.5 billion in R&D.
The American Energy Innovation Council has a graph showing the same thing:
| October 6, 2010; 3:24 PM ET
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