New opportunities for technology transfer and business cooperation with the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN)
Better technologies and new ways of using existing knowledge are an important means to cut greenhouse gas emissions and enhance climate resilience. The UN Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) negotiations, in particular the Paris Agreement’s chapter on technology transfer and development, create a broad framework for greater global collaboration. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that implementation of the national climate plans submitted by countries for the Paris Agreement – the intended nationally determined contributions, or INDCs – will mean approximatively 11.48 trillion Euros1 of investment in low-carbon technologies, renewables and energy efficiency over the next 15 years.
These are emerging markets for EU companies, ones that will create quality jobs in Europe and abroad. While the EU is home to thousands of clean tech companies, developing country markets remain unchartered territory for many of them. Yet as developing countries around the world seek to fulfil their national climate commitments and sustainable development goals, a rapidly growing need for low-carbon and clean energy technologies and training is emerging.
To maximise opportunities, both in the EU and in developing countries, cooperation and networking are key. Joint projects with international partner countries and exchanges of knowledge help to create synergies and allow the sharing of experiences on how to best innovate. Technology transfer is an important pillar of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. In order to accelerate matchmaking opportunities between technology providers and interested parties in developing countries, the UN’s Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) was launched in 2014 with support from the EU. Three years later, almost 200 clean technology transfers are now underway in more than 70 countries, in sectors ranging from agriculture and energy to industry and waste management.
About the CTCN
The CTCN helps developing countries to prioritise their technology needs, research potential regulatory and policy barriers and support technology deployment (including identifying sources of additional public or private funding). The Centre is able to provide these services by mobilising expertise on policy and technology support from a global network of finance, NGO, private sector and research stakeholders. The CTCN is based in Copenhagen, an ideal location from which to build such a network, as Denmark was ranked number one in developing green technologies by the 2017 Global Cleantech Innovation Index.
How it works
Local and national stakeholders in developing countries convey their clean technology-related needs to the CTCN via a national focal point. Upon receipt of a request, the Centre conducts an open bidding process among its network members and contracts them directly for their services.
Almost 100 of the CTCN members are from the EU. Network members represent a broad array of expertise in technology development, deployment, capacity building, finance, investment and policy. As the CTCN helps countries to create environments that are conducive to attracting and supporting technology implementation, many of its technology projects focus on both soft and hard technologies and take the form of training, assessments, feasibility studies and guidance on policy and regulatory structures.
In Uganda, for example, although geothermal energy prospects have been known about for more than 30 years, exploratory drilling for geothermal resources has yet to take place anywhere in the country. The government and development partners conducted surface studies, identified at least four sites with medium to high temperature hydrothermal systems and issued geothermal exploration licenses to private sector prospectors. However, this resulted in little or no exploratory drilling over the years. At the Ugandan government’s request, the CTCN called upon its UK network member Carbon Counts, an energy and climate change consultancy, to identify barriers to geothermal development and propose solutions. Carbon Counts pinpointed a lack of a clear geothermal energy policy and legal framework and worked with stakeholders to develop a draft geothermal energy policy for Uganda, as well as a geothermal energy law and guidance on necessary institutional structures. Once the policy and legal framework has been implemented, the development of 100 MW of geothermal energy production could provide a clean, secure, reliable and affordable source of power for over 500,000 Ugandan households.
Clean energy demand
Over 70% of all requests received by the CTCN focus on low-carbon technologies, from the energy, industry and transport sectors among others. Developing countries also make requests for adaptation-related technology assistance, with numerous requests for early warning systems, flood modelling and water management strategies. A growing number of requests include appeals for assistance in catalysing project financing, including multilateral funding from the likes of the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Visibility and networking
In addition to providing technology assistance, the CTCN serves as a platform for engagement between its network members, government representatives and financing agencies. The Centre organises seven regional fora each year for this purpose. Its members also have the opportunity to gain greater visibility for their work by presenting interactive webinars to a global audience and sharing publications and event information on the CTCN’s online portal.
Because of its reputation as a trusted technology broker, the CTCN can create opportunities for companies and organisations to find partners for project implementation in order to supplement various local and sectoral expertise. In one such case, the Centre brought together the Bariloche Foundation of Argentina, the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands and the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory to assist the Colombian government to prioritise economic sectors with the highest potential for improving energy efficiency. By providing their complimentary experience and analysis, the three groups identified the transport and industry sectors as priorities and proposed new actions, policy instruments and cross-cutting measures for the country to implement. These recommendations contributed directly to the development of Colombia’s National Indicative Action Plan for Energy Efficiency for 2017-2022.
The EU, as the largest CTCN donor, is supporting the Centre’s ongoing work and believes it has a very positive outlook for the coming years. EU Member States and the European Commission have established contact points as interlocutors for the Centre and its growing network. While the CTCN is designed to support developing countries, there is also a role for the EU and other developed countries to build networks, enable technology transfer and build capacity about climate action in both the public and private sectors.
About the CTCN:
As the implementing arm of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Technology Mechanism, the Climate Technology Centre is hosted and managed by the United Nations Environment and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The CTCN is financed through bilateral funding, including support from the European Union. Membership in the Climate Technology Network is free and offers the opportunity to engage in new markets and strengthen networks.
“The EU, as the largest CTCN donor, is supporting the Centre’s ongoing work and believes it has a very positive outlook for the coming years”
DR. KARSTEN KRAUSE
Dr Karsten Krause is the Policy Officer in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Climate Action. In the Directorate for International and Mainstreaming, he works on international technology transfer and innovation policy. As part of the EU’s UNFCCC team, he is coordinating the work on technology development and transfer. Since 2014 he has been a nominated member of the UN’s Climate Technology Centre and Network’s Advisory Board and the EU’s National Designated Entity.
Jukka Uosukainen is the Director of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). He has worked in the fields of environment, technology and development for over three decades, serving as the EU Lead Negotiator and Co-Chairman for UNFCCC subsidiary body meetings, the Basel Convention and the Montreal Protocol. He has also acted as the Chairman for the UNFCCC Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT) and facilitated technology negotiations during the Poznan and Durban Climate Meetings. Prior to joining the CTCN, he served as Director General of the International Affairs Unit in the Ministry of the Environment of Finland.