The ministerial segment of the second day of the High-Level Dialogue on Energy's Ministerial Thematic Forum on Innovation, Technology and Data opened with remarks from a youth advocate and the three member state Global Champions on the theme. A report on the theme was launched by representatives of the three UN organizational co-leads of the Technical Working Group on Innovation, Technology and Data.
The ministerial segment also featured announcements of energy compacts from local and private sector actors, remarks on the day's theme by high-level officials from four countries, and an interactive panel discussion of the theme involving representatives from industry, the research community and civil society. Prior to the ministerial segment, three multi-stakeholder dialogues addressed topics related to innovation, technology and data.
A youth advocate called on participants to tap the true potential of his “digitally-savvy generation” to work on energy innovation, digitalization and mobilizing advocacy for sustainable energy.
The Ministers and high-level officials discussed their countries’ commitments to increased ambition for the energy transition, and ideas regarding the roles data management, digitalization, research, and innovation can play. Examples presented included: use of modeling to choose technologies appropriate to a country's needs and conditions; use of smart grids to manage supply and distribution; digital monitoring and management of devices’ power demand; various applications of artificial intelligence; and the development and deployment of new technologies, alongside demonstration and commercialization of existing technologies such as those associated with hydrogen power.
The Deputy Major of London announced a C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group commitment to help accelerate energy transition by aiding cities in delivering energy-related targets in their climate action plans.
The Basque Country in Spain discussed its Basque Green Deal and outlined commitments to develop sustainable local markets for hydrogen power and to create citizens’ co-operatives for photovoltaic technology.
JK Cement announced several commitments for 2030: increasing their green power mix to 75% from the current level of 25%; cutting net carbon emissions by 21% below 2020 levels; and reducing groundwater dependency by increasing water productivity five times current levels.
Ultratech Cement announced commitments to: double energy productivity from 2010 levels by 2035; increase green energy use to 34% by 2024; cut its carbon footprint by 27% below 2017 levels by 2032, and cut scope 2 (indirect) greenhouse gas emissions by 69% within the same timeframe.
Official Launch of the Theme Report on Innovation, Technology and Data
The Theme Report on Innovation, Technology and Data was officially launched during the ministerial segment of the Forum. During an interactive panel, representatives from the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) discussed priority recommendations included in the report. The report was developed by the Technical Working Group on Innovation, Technology and Data, which was co-led by the three agencies. Among the recommendations highlighted were the need to:
- align energy innovation governance and international cooperation with meeting the 2030 and 2050 targets;
- expand the supply of energy innovation that addresses key gaps;
- increase the demand for clean and sustainable energy technologies and innovation;
- leverage digitalization for innovation while addressing the digital divide; and
- improve the collection, management, and application of data and data systems.
Global Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Segment
Prior to the ministerial segment, multi-stakeholder dialogues discussed data systems for sustainable energy and energy innovation and technology in the food, urban and industry sectors.
Data Systems for Sustainable Energy: In the panel on “Digitalization’s role in leading the transformation,” several speakers highlighted the need for training on data science. Examples for actions to enhance data literacy included summer job campaigns and connecting all schools to the internet. Speakers discussed the need to understand the value of data and to ensure it is retrievable and interoperable. One speaker highlighted the importance of including “unconventional” players in the discussion to learn what data they use, and need, to inform decisions about energy reliability.
During a panel on “Better data for low carbon energy,” speakers discussed the value of open data. Recalling that cooking and lighting fuels in households contribute half of all black carbon, one speaker said we need data to understand which stoves work and do not break, in order to deliver clean, robust and user-friendly cooking stoves to address this problem.
Energy Innovation and Technology I: This dialogue featured a panel focused on the food sector and another focused on the urban sector. Regarding the food sector, panelists noted food systems use up to 30% of energy. They stressed the need to address energy inefficiency in some regions and provide access to energy in others, in order to: achieve renewable energy solutions; address needs; make the food system more environmentally sustainable and cost effective; and provide economic and social benefits.
On the urban sector, panelists highlighted the need for political will to prioritize energy access and sustainability even if trade-offs must be made. They also emphasized that finance and technological innovation are needed for cities to reduce carbon emissions, particularly the high emissions produced in the transportation and building sectors, and to get back on track toward achieving SDG 7.
Energy Innovation and Technology II: This dialogue focused on technological solutions for decarbonizing industry and achieving SDG 7, underlining the need to accelerate the development and deployment of clean new technologies, such as green hydrogen. Speakers discussed raising ambition and aligning policy and governance in order to achieve clean industrial transformation.
Speakers highlighted the importance of a value chain decarbonization approach, stressing the need to be mindful and responsible for all actions arising from their activities, both up- and downstream, such as their energy sources and emissions from raw material use.
Participants underlined the urgency of accelerating clean energy transitions and the role of international collaboration and partnerships in this regard. They also highlighted the role of governments in using their public procurement processes to create demand signals and stimulate demand for low-carbon products.
To receive continuing coverage of this event delivered to your inbox, subscribe to the ENB Update newsletter.