We evaluate the heterogeneous roles of fossil fuel prices on fossil fuel and renewable energy innovation in the electricity sector. Our analysis of a global firm-level electricity patent database from 1963 to 2016 suggests the relative impact of coal and natural gas prices on renewable innovation varies before and after the early 2000s’ shale gas revolution. Specifically, an increase in the coal-natural gas price ratio reduces renewable energy innovation before 2002, while increasing it after 2002. Therefore, policymakers must consider the coal-to-gas switch to effectively shift electricity-generating innovation away from carbon-intense technologies
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