The International Energy Agency held a high-level workshop today on ways to accelerate innovation in clean energy technologies, bringing together top international decision-makers from governments, industry and finance, as well as key experts from leading global research institutions.
The event was designed to inform the analysis of the 2020 edition of the IEA’s Energy Technologies Perspectives (ETP) publication. For more than a decade, the ETP series has contributed to global energy and environmental policy-making. To enhance the ETP’s relevance to decision-makers in governments and industry, the IEA has decided to revamp the publication and release a new edition in June 2020 with the aim of making it a global guidebook on clean energy technologies.
More than 80 people took part in the workshop, including senior decision-makers and representatives from governments, industry, investor groups and civil society. The discussions also involved some of the world’s preeminent experts in technology and innovation from major global research centres such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Imperial College London and Tufts University.
“Accelerating innovation in clean energy technologies is central to achieving international climate goals,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, who opened the workshop. “I am delighted that so many people on the cutting edge of energy and innovation are here today to help ensure the new incarnation of Energy Technology Perspectives will be required reading for decision-makers shaping the future of energy.”
At its 2019 Ministerial Meeting earlier this month, the IEA received a mandate from its Member countries to strengthen its work to “support decision-makers on how to accelerate low-emission solutions and promote clean, sustainable, affordable, resilient and safe energy technologies for reaching both near and long-term objectives.” The new format of ETP will be an important part of those efforts.
A cleaner and more secure energy sector will require the use of energy technologies that are still in the lab today or at early stages of deployment. But technology transitions take time. For example, solar PV and large rechargeable batteries both took decades to be commercialised and become competitive in the market place.
The 2020 edition of ETP will analyse how past experiences can help design more effective policies for prioritising innovation and research and development. The aim is to support governments’ efforts to reach their long-term energy transition objectives cost-effectively while enhancing energy security. In particular, the new ETP will seek to help decision-makers in governments and industry to better understand the opportunities in clean energy technologies and the trade-offs involved.