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Renewable Energy Tech Gains Suffered From US Fracking Revolution

  • Patent growth slowed after fracking boom, researchers find
  • Economics needs to focus on energy transition: MIT’s Acemoglu
Oilfield workers construct a vertical drilling rig in Texas

Oilfield workers construct a vertical drilling rig in Texas

Photographer: Jordan Vonderhaar/Bloomberg

The US’s historic natural-gas boom increased the country’s energy independence, but low energy prices also had a chilling effect on renewable-energy innovation, according to Daron Acemoglu, an MIT economist and Nobel laureate. 

Falling gas prices in the early 2010s “removed one of the impetus factors that pushed people more into renewables,” Acemoglu said in remarks at a Federal Reserve Bank of New York virtual symposium on climate change economics. “You can’t hope to make gas, oil and coal cheaper and cheaper, and expect the renewable transition to proceed in an efficient way.”