Our Common Future Under Climate Change

International Scientific Conference 7-10 JULY 2015 Paris, France

Menu
  • Home
  • Zoom Interactive Programme
Cliquer pour fermer

Friday 10 July - 14:00-15:30 UNESCO Fontenoy - ROOM XI

3315 - Energy Innovation for Climate Change: systems approaches and societal responses

Parallel Session

Lead Convener(s): J. Skea (Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom)

Convener(s): C. Wilson (University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom), C. Mclachlan (Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research,, Manchester, United Kingdom), M. Hannon (Imperial College, London, United Kingdom)

14:00

The need for energy innovation: chair's introduction

J. Skea (Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom), M. Hannon (Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom)

Abstract details
The need for energy innovation: chair's introduction

J. Skea (1) ; M. Hannon (1)
(1) Imperial College London, Centre for Environmental Policy, London, United Kingdom

Abstract content

Current energy technologies available to the market at scale are not capable of reducing CO2 emissions to levels compatible with achieving the UNFCCC goal of limiting global warming to 2°C. The last decade has seen a significant scaling up of both public and private sector energy RD&D efforts, but these have yet to reach the levels required to achieve climate policy goals. Indeed, much of the private sector effort will have the effect of extending the potential fossil fuel resource base leading to potential policy dilemmas.

Against this background, the objectives of the chair's introduction are to: identify the needs for investment in energy RD&D; identify patterns of investemtn in R&D in both the public and private sectors; identify investment priorities and methods for establishing them; and consider what institutional frameworks and policy instruments will be most conducive to innovation that will help the achievement of a low-carbon transition. Energy innovation systems now transcend national boundaries due to international co-operation, the mobility of human capital and the activities of multinational companies. These factors will be sketched to help frame the session Energy Innovation for Climate Change: systems approaches and societal responses.

14:10

A Systemic Approach to Assess Energy Technology Innovation

A. Grubler (IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria)

Abstract details
A Systemic Approach to Assess Energy Technology Innovation

A. Grubler (1)
(1) IIASA, Transitions to New Technologies, Laxenburg, Austria

Abstract content

A systemic framework to assess energy technology innovation efforts, the Energy Technology Innovation Systems (ETIS), is outlined. ETIS describes innovation activities within both a systems perspective of all phases of a technology’s life cycle (R&D to maturity/obsolescence) as well as all components of energy systems from supply to end-use. Within these two system boundaries innovation activities are assessed across four dimensions that represent critical inputs as well as outputs of innovation activities: knowledge generation, resource mobilization, and actor/institutional network build-up as innovation inputs, as well as improvements in technology characteristics (feasibility, performance, costs) as innovation outputs.

The ETIS framework is used to assess current global innovation efforts for climate mitigation concluding that current innovation portfolios are highly biased, resource allocation and policy focus are misaligned, as well as actor and institutional mobilization insufficiently globalized to provide for an effective innovation system that can generate and diffuse required innovations in improved resource efficiency and low-carbon technologies. Selected quantitative examples underpin the assessment presented that emerged out of work conducted within the framework of the Global Energy Assessment (GEA).

14:25

Stakeholder engagement in innovation and deployment

C. Mclachlan (University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom), S. Mander (University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom)

Abstract details
Stakeholder engagement in innovation and deployment

C. Mclachlan (1) ; S. Mander (1)
(1) University of Manchester, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Manchester, United Kingdom

Abstract content

Low carbon energy systems will require significant infrastructural transformation, involving both novel technologies and new configurations of existing technologies. However, stakeholder ‘opposition’ is a frequently cited barrier to such change. Framing our research with a brief rejection of the usefulness and veracity of the dominant concept of Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) in understanding different stakeholder positions, we draw on numerous research projects on low carbon energy siting controversy that have been undertaken at in the Tyndall Centre Manchester, UK. This body of research, undertaken over a decade, examines the local enactment of national policies, demonstrating that it is in this local deployment of technologies that the particular constellations of normative goals and power relationships come in to sharp focus. Such deployment can act as catalyst for local stakeholders to engage with, and challenge, the desirability of the dominant energy system or novel technologies for the first time. This presentation will emphasise the socio-technical nature of energy infrastructure and services, and will explore societal responses to, and engagement with, such significant changes. Issues identified and discussed by stakeholders have included: what social goals are driving policy and are these appropriate? Who are the winners and losers and what power do they have? Whose interests are protected within official impact assessments and whose are not? What kind of society does a particular energy system support or challenge?

We use case study material to explore a range of themes at the deployment stage of energy technologies and set the scene for other panel contributions which focus more on the role (and potential role) of stakeholders in determining the overarching shape of the energy system. We draw together insights from a range of disciplines addressing common themes in low carbon energy controversies such as: different interpretations of impacts and benefits; governance, consultation and engagement activities; the role of governments and businesses. In particular we draw on recent and current projects on smart grids and future energy system resilience. Exploring, for example, the impact on deployment of tensions between the visions of ‘ideal’ consumers used by designers and engineers to shape technology and the more messy reality of everyday energy consumption. A case study of siting a CO2 pipeline is used to  examine how to engage local stakeholders, and in particular how to reconcile expressed desire for communication and engagement with  a lack participation in the activities offered. Here, we find that different types and levels of engagement will be suitable for different individuals, information materials need to be tailored to different audiences and opportunities to engage should be provided through a variety of channels and methods.

We argue that there is a need to more closely examine the social assumptions within both positive and negative accounts of low carbon energy technologies and systems, as this allows for the source of controversy to be more fully understood and a wider range of ways of developing support for particular transitions to be developed. Finally, to close the presentation and frame the following panel discussion, we will reflect on the implications of our findings for those trying to deliver transitions in the energy system, particularly in the context of calls for these transitions to be achieved more rapidly. 

14:40

Fuel du Jour: Cutting through alternative fuel hype to decarbonize transportation

N. Melton (Navius Research Inc., Vancouver, Canada), J. Axsen (Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada), D. Sperling (University of California, Davis, Davis, United States of America)

Abstract details
Fuel du Jour: Cutting through alternative fuel hype to decarbonize transportation

N. Melton (1) ; J. Axsen (2) ; D. Sperling (3)
(1) Navius Research Inc., Vancouver, Canada; (2) Simon Fraser University, Resource and environmental management, Vancouver, Canada; (3) University of California, Davis, Institute of transportation studies, Davis, United States of America

Abstract content

Achieving global climate mitigation objectives requires a substantial shift to alternative fuels such as electricity, hydrogen or biofuels for road transport. Over the past three decades, government, industry and others have repeatedly been swept up with the "fuel du jour" phenomon, believing that a particular alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) technology will succeed in replacing conventional gasoline powered vehicles. However, despite numerous periods of hype AFVs are not yet being adopted at rates sufficient to achieve deep decarbonization. The dynamics of hype and disappointment are exemplified by the ambitious statements of US presidents. For example, in 1989 President George H.W. Bush announced an Executive Order requiring 500,000 methanol vehicles to be produced by 1996. Over a decade later, President George W. Bush declared a goal of making cellulosic ethanol "practical and competitive within six years." And in 2011, President Barak Obama made a goal of having one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Despite each period of hype being associated with an upswing of attention, expectations and innovation, none of these goals have been met.

Our study builds on existing science, technology and innovation research to improve awareness about the extent of hype and disappointment cycles for AFV technologies. This research has implications for all sectors where emerging technologies are important for mitigating climate change. The specific objectives of our research are to: 1) identify periods of AFV hype and disappointment by examining trends in societal attention and innovation, 2) explore the ways in which governments participate in and/or contribute to hype by examining funding, policy and political announcements, and 3) identify options for minimizing the negative effects of hype on the decarbonization of road transport. To accomplish these objectives, we analyze mass media, prototype and funding data between 1980 and 2013 for all major AFV technologies.

Hype begins with a technology breakthrough (e.g. the discovery of a new fuel cell manufacturing process) or a policy trigger (e.g. an increase in funding for fuel cell research) that attracts interest in that technology. Innovation actors such as scientists, industry and governments then communicate technological promises in order to attract attention and resources. Hype can play an important role in supporting successful innovation activities, but excessive hype increases the chance of failure. Unfulfilled promises and expectations undermine the reputation of new technologies and their developers, hamper resource mobilization and may lead to the abandonment of innovation activities.

Our research identifies and describes numerous cycles of AFV hype and disappointment, starting with methanol and natural gas in the late 1980s, moving through plug-in electric vehicles in the mid 1990s, and then turning to hybrid-electric, hydrogen and biofuels in the early 2000s. Presently, expectations about plug-in electric vehicles are particularly high (although not for the first time). We show how automotive firms, policy makers and politicians have touted the benefits of each of these AFV technologies at different times, only to lose interest and turn attention to the next technology when initial expectations fail to be met.

While some degree of hype is desirable for stimulating interest and investment in new technologies, the extreme and typically unrealistic promises related to AFVs are contrary to an efficient transition to low-carbon transportation. For policymakers seeking to induce such a transition, it therefore seems prudent to take steps to mitigate the negative impacts of hype and implement effective policy that is relatively immune to disappointment cycles. To accelerate the adoption of low carbon technologies, we suggest that policymakers: 1) set realistic goals for AFV market penetration, 2) implement strong and consistent policies to achieve desired penetration (i.e., technology agnostic policy focused on environmental damages), and 3) establish institutional capacity to inform expectations via technology assessment. These recommendations are likely applicable to other sectors where emerging low carbon technologies is important for achieving climate mitigation objectives.

14:45

What role for climate negotiations on technology transfer?

M. Glachant (MINES ParisTech, Paris, France), A. Dechezleprêtre (Grantham Research Institute – London School of Economics , London, United Kingdom)

Abstract details
What role for climate negotiations on technology transfer?

M. Glachant (1) ; A. Dechezleprêtre (2)
(1) MINES ParisTech, Paris, France; (2) Grantham Research Institute – London School of Economics , London, United Kingdom

Abstract content

Technology has been an important topic of international climate change negotiations since the adoption of the United Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, in which the parties committed themselves to “promote and cooperate in the development, application and diffusion, including transfer, of technologies”. North-to-South technology transfer has been given a particularly high importance since technologies have so far been mostly developed in industrialized countries, but are urgently required to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in emerging economies where the bulk of future emission increases are expected.

Little progress has been made, however, in the climate negotiations on these issues. The only significant result to date is the establishment of a Technology Mechanism in 2010 in Cancun. It consists in two coordination bodies – the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and the Climate Technology Center and Network (CTC&N) – the role of which is to elaborate and implement practical solutions to boost technology transfer and technology diffusion towards developing countries.

In this paper, we argue that this apparent lack of success has had little negative consequences on international technology diffusion until now. We even offer the perhaps controversial view that climate negotiations should continue to neglect technology issues.

We provide evidence that, despite the absence of progress on these issues, North – South technology transfer of climate change mitigation technologies has dramatically increased in the last twenty years. This has mostly concerned emerging economies which are now reasonably well connected to international technology flows. This is good news as these are the countries where most of emission increases are expected to occur in the near future. In contrast, least developed countries appear to have remained excluded from international technology flows. This evidence is based on an up-to-date analysis of the climate-related technology transfer landscape, based on a combination of patent data, bilateral trade data and foreign investment data. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first time that such a comprehensive database on climate-related technology transfer has been assembled. Existing studies essentially rely on patent data (e.g., Dechezleprêtre et al. 2011). This evolution has mainly been driven by the growing integration of emerging economies to the global economy, as technological knowledge mostly crosses borders though the international trade of capital goods and Foreign Direct Investments. Similarly, the fact that least-developed countries remain outside is explained by their little participation in the recent economic globalization.

What, then, should be the priority for international coordination on technology diffusion in the future? In the case of emerging economies, there is no reason to think that they will not continue to effectively absorb foreign technologies. In this group, certain laggards – South Asia and India in particular – will benefit from a growing participation in economic globalization. This suggests a limited role for the Technology Mechanism which should essentially provide local private and public actors with information to facilitate coordination (e.g. through technology needs assessment). In parallel, there is no reason to transfer the international regulation of market mechanisms – in particular, trade rules and Intellectual Property – from the World Trade Organization to the UNFCCC.

The situation of least-developed countries is paradoxical. On the one hand, it is more critical as they do not import green technologies; on the other hand, there is less urgency to deal with the problem as their contribution to global emissions will remain limited in the near future. In these countries, the priority is then to build technological capacities and to promote their integration into the global economy. In fact, the problem to be solved is very general: the economic under-development of certain countries and regions, in particular in Africa. We believe that the UNFCCC might not be the adequate forum to deal with what, essentially, appears as a development issue rather than a climate change-related problem.

14:50

Engaging stakeholders towards low carbon energy technology deployment

P. Ashworth (University of Queensland,, Brisbane, Australia)

Abstract details
Engaging stakeholders towards low carbon energy technology deployment

P. Ashworth (1)
(1) University of Queensland,, School of Social Sciences, Brisbane, Australia

Abstract content

No. 3315 Innovation, Technology Deployment and Policies FOR TYNDALL CENTRE SESSION

Like many technologies, deployment of low carbon energy technologies is a contested topic that often divides communities that previously may have coexisted harmoniously. As a result, community engagement and citizen participation have become important, if not essential components of the climate change - low carbon energy landscape.  With the overriding aim of community engagement being to involve community members in decisions or policy making that is likely to affect them now or in the future (Keeney 1998), there has been a move away from the traditional one-way, top down approach to one that is far more inclusive. At the same time there has been an increase in the research literature - theoretical frameworks and models - that relate to this topic as governments and industry internationally are being held to account for their actions by their constituents and impacted communities. For example, much has been written about participatory technology assessment (pTA). Huijts, Molin and Steg (2012) proposed a framework for technology assessment with a focus on carbon capture and storage (CCS). The framework emerged from both the pTA literature and psychological theories. They have subsequently tested and refined the framework using hydrogen refuelling as their example. Key elements of their framework that influence decisions to support a technology include attitudes social norms, perceived behavioural control and personal norm. Other components include procedural and distributive fairness, perceived risks and benefits and trust. Similarly, Hall, Ashworth and Devine-Wright (2013) examined key themes that arose from an examination of seven case studies of wind farm deployment. From the qualitative interviews four common themes emerged which included trust, distributional and procedural justice and place attachment. The researchers argued that with out addressing these factors into policy development and engagement approaches wind energy is likely to be deployed for meeting new renewable energy targets. There are similar results reported for the range of low carbon energy technologies such as nuclear, geothermal, CCS and so on. Despite the similarities and overlaps across the frameworks, models and case studies successful deployment of low carbon energy technologies is still challenging and in some cases out of reach. This panel discussion will examine how the requirements for ensuring procedural and distributive justice, trust and place attachment can be met. It will also discuss responses to questions such as? Who should be included in engagement activities?  What process will be used to engage? How do you ensure the process is fair? What are the components of trust? How do you evaluate success? 

14:55

The role of public-private partnerships in in energy innovation and technology development

I. Azevedo (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, United States of America), I. Azevedo (Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, United States of America)

Abstract details
The role of public-private partnerships in in energy innovation and technology development

I. Azevedo (1) ; I. Azevedo (2)
(1) Carnegie Mellon University, Engineering and Public Policy, Pittsburgh, PA, United States of America; (2) Carnegie-Mellon University, Department of engineering and public policy, Pittsburgh, United States of America

Abstract content

In order to transition to a low carbon, sustainable, energy system globally and avoid potentially dramatic effects from climate change, the work needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by roughly an order of magnitude.

Existing technologies and strategies, such as using energy more efficiently, scaling up of renewables, the use of nuclear and a short-term transition to natural (ensuring low leakage rates), and deployment of carbon capture and sequestration will be necessary to help with such transition.

However, there is a continuous need for innovation to help achieve these goals at lower costs. This brings us to a conundrum: the returns on public and private R&D investments and other policies (such as a carbon price or tax, production tax credits, feed-in tariffs, among others) that may lead to energy innovations and help curb the costs of climate mitigation strategies are multifaceted uncertain problems. Namely, uncertainty arises regarding 1) what will be the outcomes in terms of technology breakthroughs or improvements associated with R&D investments or other policy mechanisms that are implemented to promote innovation? 2) when will these technology breakthroughs or improvements occur and how to deal with the uncertainty regarding the timeline of such improvements? 3) if these breakthroughs or improvements occur, how fast or slow will the diffusion process be across different regions?

To address this issues requires both retrospective assessments of what outcomes have different policies and R&D investments delivered so far, as well as a forward looking perspective to enable us to make decisions for climate and energy decision under deep uncertainty.   

In this talk, I will start with a retrospective analysis with the evidence from the literature regarding the outcomes of R&D investments and other policies on technology innovation and deployment in several regions of the work. In particular, I will provide examples regarding the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program, the production tax credits and the renewable portfolio standard in the United States, and regarding the feed-in tariffs (and other similar policies) in many of the European Union countries, and finally assessing also the outcomes of incentives provided to wind and solar innovators in China. 

While understanding the outcomes of previous policies on innovation is already a challenging task, a forward looking assessment is an even more daunting and humbling exercise: forecasts of how the energy system is likely to be shaped in the future has been proven to be quite poor, and any decision framework will be plagued by deep uncertainty. I will outline a methods that provides insight on the quality of forecasts for energy quantities and prices, and suggest a framework on how this information could be used to help identify the needs for investment in energy RD&D and to avoid “dead ends”; identify investment priorities and methods for establishing them; and consider what institutional frameworks and policy instruments will be most conducive to innovation that will help the achievement of a low-carbon transition.

Key references:Global Energy Assessment, (2012). “Chapter 16: Trends and transitions in energy systems”. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA); Horner, N.,  Azevedo, I.L., Hounshell, D. (2013). Effects of government incentives on wind innovation in the United States, Environmental Research Letters, 8.4: 044032.; Rhodes, A., Skea, J., Hannon, M. 2014. The Global Surge in Energy Innovation.  Energies ISSN 1996-1073; Rubin, E., Azevedo, I.L., Yeh, S., Jaramillo, P., How to improve modelling approaches to represent the future costs of energy technologies? Reviewing the findings from learning curves from energy technologies, submitted to Energy Policy in December 2014.; Peña, I., Azevedo, I.L., Ferreira, L. M., Was It Worth It? A Review of Portuguese Wind Policies and Technology Diffusion, submitted to Energy Policy 2014.; Lam, L., Branstetter, L., Azevedo, I.L, The Emergence of the Chinese Solar PV and Wind Turbine Industries, submitted to Journal of Environmental Economics and Management in 2014.; Pena-Cabra, I., Azevedo, I.L., (2014) Economics analysis on the profitability of wind in Portugal between 1992 and 2010, Energy Economics, 45: 353–363..

15:00

Panel discussion

J. Skea (Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom)

Abstract details
Panel discussion
Abstract content