The paper contributes to renewable energy innovation metrics through an explorative approach of innovation patterns across European countries in 2010. Localized innovation capabilities at work describe the health of the wind, solar and bioenergy sectors pointing out a concentrated RES innovation activity within four countries: Germany, France, United Kingdom and Denmark. The association of technological capabilities along the innovation composite indicator allows the extraction of useful insights of the role of environmental policies upon employment and technological change. In a nutshell, the corporate research investment per patent is lower for wind energy (EUR 0.61 million), and higher for PV and biofuel (around EUR 1 million). For all technologies, the evolution of the market drives the patterns of innovation activities, with considerable consequences in the context of globalization.