Finding the perfect match

GreenTechTransfer platform to pair public and private stakeholders with technology providers

February 14, 2018 | By Nathan Johnson

On January 22, 2018, the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) hosted a one-day workshop for Green Technology Transfer Platform (GreenTechTransfer) project participants. Organised by the REC’s Climate Change and Clean Energy Solutions Unit, the event took place at the REC Conference Center in Szentendre, Hungary.

Currently under development, GreenTechTransfer is a neutral, web-based platform through which Japanese low-carbon business leaders and innovative start-ups can be paired with public and private stakeholders from South-East and Eastern European countries to initiate fruitful cooperation related to technology transfer.

“One of the primary objectives of this kind of assistance is to help these countries meet their Paris Agreement pledges,” Eduardas Kazakevicius, REC Senior Expert and Head of the Climate Change and Clean Energy Solutions Unit, said during his opening remarks. “Our goals today are to share opinions on technology transfer opportunities, to discuss the use of internet and social media platforms for fostering technology transfers, and to provide feedback on the pilot version of the new web platform.”

In the run-up to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris (which resulted in the Paris Agreement), signatory countries to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) were asked to publish their own Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, or INDC pledge. One of the instruments of meeting the INDC pledges is technology transfer to least developed and developing countries, as well as to countries with economies in transition, through the bilateral mechanisms of international cooperation. In keeping with its national pledge to lower carbon emissions, Japan is committed to such mechanisms that can facilitate this kind of technology transfer to other countries.

On hand to represent Japan at the GreenTechTransfer workshop was Kazuyoshi Nakasugi from the Embassy of Japan in Hungary. “Developing technology is very important for reducing emissions,” Mr. Nakasugi said in welcoming the participants. “This platform should help in making this kind of technology more widely available in the region.”

Vladmir Hecl from the UNFCCC opened the day’s presentations with an overview of technology transfer in the Paris Agreement and related success stories.

There are five basic themes around which to build a tech transfer framework, Hecl explained: innovation, implementation, enabling environments and capacity building, collaboration and stakeholder engagement, and support. 

“From 2001 to 2015, countries were asked to prioritise their technology needs, and more than 100 reports were produced,” Hecl said. “The quality of many of these reports—from African countries, for example—is very high, but the primary gap is between this identification and the actual readiness of countries prepare and implement projects. To close some of these gaps, we need well-defined links between available technologies and financial mechanisms. This will result in bankable projects.”

Country perspectives: policies and needs

Five presentations followed from representatives of different countries participating in project, namely: Moldova, Albania, FYR Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and Ukraine. Each of the presenters summarised the range of climate policies and technologies of their respective home countries.

Ala Druta, from the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment of Moldova, mentioned that her country is committed to meeting its target of GHG emission of 64-67 percent from 1990 levels by 2030, and that reductions could be increased by up to 78 percent, depending on additional measures. Moldova’s top priority, according to Druta, is investment in smart farming technology to help achieve climate change adaptation and mitigation goals.

“Main adaptation actions are to be implemented through tech transfer and community-based action plans,” Druta stated. 

Gjergji Simaku, Director of Industry and Energy Policy and Strategic Development from the Albanian Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, summarised developments of the Albanian Building Code from 2003. The country, Simaku explained, has three basic climate zones that have an impact on residential building typology and energy demand.

“In 2008, the building sector was responsible for 30 percent of final energy consumption and 56 percent of electricity,” Simaku explained. “By 2016, the percentages had risen to 42 and 70 percent, respectively.”

Through a series of eight modelling steps and the best available technologies, Albania is looking to carry out renovations that will make its building stock as energy-efficient as possible.

Representing the Macedonian Centre for Energy Efficiency, Sashe Panevski remarked that FYR Macedonia’s prime INDC target sectors are energy supply and production, buildings, and mobility. Noting that the share of fossil fuels in the country’s electricity production is 80 percent, Penevski added that photovoltaic installation has thus far not proved efficient, but that the utilisation of geothermal energy solutions has been far more successful.

“The techs and approaches most suitable right now for FYR Macedonia are subvention for electric cars, electrification of public transport, decentralisation of energy production, heat pumps, increased utilisation of central heating, gasification, opening green jobs and green procurement,” Penevski concluded.

Branjka Knezevic, a speaker from the BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, mentioned her country’s rich supply of indigenous coal and hydropower energy sources, adding that there is great potential to develop advanced hydropower, wind, biomass, solar and geothermal energy technology. She also stressed BiH’s commitment to international cooperation mechanisms, such as the Paris Agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, and the UNCCC.

“Our primary needs are within knowledge and institutional frameworks,” Knezevic said. “Specifically, we need to know more about climate change risks, to reliably identify vulnerabilities and opportunities, and to obtain support for evidence-based policy development.”

Wrapping up the presentations on country perspectives was Anatolii Shmurak from the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. Mr. Shmurak stated that the country’s main activity at present is the preparation of a low-emission development strategy. Ukraine is looking towards biomass, modernised transport and highly efficient cogeneration at both the local and regional level, Shmurak explained, adding that, in terms of efficiency measures, reducing leaks in the gas sector and waste prevention are top priorities.

“Certainly, more ideas are needed,” said Shmurak, “but we need links to those ideas and a database to coordinate such activities.”

Partnering up

Joining the discussion from Japan via Skype was Rabhi Abdessalem from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), who spoke about stakeholder matchmaking as an innovative business model, while highlighting certified technologies as tools for advancing low carbon development.

“If you make good matches, part of the cost of doing business will be reduced through the GreenTechTransfer platform,” Abdessalem told the participants. “‘Matchmaking’ is a very important term to keep in mind with this kind of set-up.”

Feasibility studies are important in making the most compatible B2B matches, the speaker explained, and certain important questions need to be asked: What kind of support is required? What are the financial and technical awareness requirements of the prospective partner? Which specific stakeholder or stakeholders can provide such support? “And once a match is made,” Abdessalem added, “following up is key.”

Abdessalem outlined some basic platform features for the technology-sharing scheme: it must be practical, comprehensive, systematic (with, again, keen attention to follow-up activities), and involves developing information—rather than just collecting and sharing.

A glimpse of what’s to come

REC Web Developer Daniel Mirea concluded the workshop with a visual presentation and overview of the GreenTechTransfer website, which is currently under development.

The portal is designed to promote ‘leading low carbon technologies’ (L2-Tech) certified products that are divided into three sectors and 12 technology groups. The site also lists and describes the needs of the region countries and supplies users with a ‘tech request form’. Tech providers can use the portal to post news and other information, while there is also room on the portal for announcing funding opportunities.

“The website more or less follows the approaches of online retailers, and is quite easy to navigate,” Mirea explained. “It’s currently in English, but we intend eventually to make it available in national languages.”

TAGS: Green technology | Climate change | Clean energy | Japan | Central and Eastern Europe