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Initiatives to foster the development of Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) can benefit from a deep un- derstanding of the science base that underlies such technologies, and especially how that science base differs from that of Fossil Fuel based Energy Technologies (FFETs). This paper investigates both science bases using citations in patents to scientific journals. We find that RETs generally have a more substantial science base and draw on a more diverse set of scientific disciplines. On average, the science on which RETs build is more recent, less applied and is published in journals with a higher WOS Journal Impact Factor. However, for different RETs (e.g., photovoltaics, wind turbines and non-fossil fuels), we observe much more variation across these dimen- sions than for different FFETs (e.g., combustion and gas turbines). Furthermore, the broad spectrum of sciences on which RETs build largely includes the smaller spectrum on which FFETs build. Based on these findings, we offer several policy recommendations to better stimulate the development of RETs.