Technological Innovation and the Future of Energy Value Chains

Authors: Nicola De Blasio and Derek Zheng

April 2022


The transition from energy systems dominated by fossil fuels to ones based on renewable electricity and carbon-free molecules will significantly impact existing value chains and forge new pathways and transformation steps from production to consumption. This transition will bring not only substantial cost challenges but also promises to dramatically alter stakeholders’ interactions along value chains.

Technological innovation is driving dynamics not seen in the energy sector since the Industrial Revolution, and it will be key to accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy while sustaining growth and achieving prosperity for all. But as new technologies develop to meet growing energy needs, understanding how these technologies will impact existing energy value chains is crucial for navigating the energy transition successfully. To elucidate these dynamics, we must first identify the key technologies driving disruptive change and then understand how their deployment at scale might impact existing value chains or cause new ones to emerge.

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For Academic Citation: De Blasio, N., and Zheng, D. (2022), “Technological Innovation and the Future of Energy Value Chains" Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Relations, April 2022.