Technology Transfer, Policy and Climate Change: Goal 2020

In context of technology transfer as a key focus of discussion between nations post Copenhagen, on April 20th, India Carbon Outlook convened a roundtable of multilateral investors, trade commissioners, policy thinktanks and corporates to discuss the global prototypes and structure of Technology DIffusion Centre needed in India.

The roundtable on ‘Goal 2020: Identifying issues, options, opportunities and frameworks towards demand side mainstreaming of climate friendly technologies’ was organised in association with cKinetics and Observer Research Foundation. The key focus of the roundtable was to discuss two main aspects-

• Identifying  prototypes, options, opportunities and frameworks that can enable demand side mainstreaming of climate friendly technologies before 2020, and are actionable in the next few years
• Discussing the need, role and structure of a Technology Diffusion and Innovation Centre for building technological capabilities to combat climate change.

In the opening remarks, Mr. Sunjoy Joshi, Distinguished Fellow, ORF outlined the inefficiency of the emission reduction targets of the different countries and the need for commercial channelization, private sector partnerships, incentivisation through cap and trade schemes and means of rewarding carbon efficiency.

The first session was chaired by Mr. Upendra Bhatt, Managing Director, cKinetics where he presented the findings of the pre-meeting questionnaire on technology transfer experiences. His presentation highlighted the contrarian views of the participants regarding the construct and market regime to facilitate technology collaboration in carbon efficient green technologies.

In the second session, the discussion centred on the sectors in which technology transfer, innovation and diffusion are required and the global experiences and indicative prototypes. Mr. Raghuraman (Former Energy Advisor, CII) stressed on the importance of Integral Energy Policy under the IREDA and the need for short term generation based incentives. Mr. Parikshit Srivastava from FINPRO and Mr. Poul Jensen, Director, European Business and Technology Centre spoke about the EU initiatives for tech transfer and the importance of the Indo-EU Free Trade Agreement due in October. Mr. Pawan Mehra (Managing Director, cKinetics) spoke about their Textile GHG-Water Footprinting project and the need for industry specific inventorization. Mr. Takeshi Yoshida (Chief Representative, NEDO) shared Japanese energy efficiency experiences and cited the example of the ‘Top Runner Programme’.

Mr. Ravi Sinha (Chairman, Choice Solar) shared the opinion that more than technology transfer India needs efficient service support maintenance. Ms. Lydia Powell, Senior Fellow, ORF identified IPR and persistence of unorganized sector as the key limitations for mass adoption of technologies. Mr. Kunal Upadyay and Prof. Rakesh Basant from CIIE, IIM-A spoke about the importance of energy efficiency requirements in SMEs and also the need of business model innovations along with technology innovations. Mr. Bishal Thapa (Director, ICF India) talked about the inadequacy of pure market based instruments and the role of the Technology Diffusion Centre to create preliminary awareness and create channels.

In the third session, the participants divided into two Working Groups: Group I for discussing the policy construct and the framework for Designing Technology Diffusion and Innovation Hub Ecosystem, and Group II for discussing Prototype Rollouts and Mass Adoption. In the last session, the working groups presented their findings which was then discussed and deliberated upon by the participants.

There were opposing views on questions of adopting a command and control approach or an incentive based mechanism for mainstreaming technology transfer. Mr. J.V. Rao (Director, NITRA) supported the incentive based approach and mentioned that the kind of approach should not be standardised and should vary with the nature of the sector involved, while Mr. Bishal Thapa advocated the ‘stick’ approach of creating performance benchmarks for industries.

Dr. Ramesh Jalan (Climate Solutions ExChange, UNDP) spoke about the need for innovation due tot the high technological availability and low utilisation. He also asserted the need for a compendium of technological solutions and the importance of R&D institutions in this sector.

The key points that emerged from the roundtable were that cost and local adaptiveness of the technologies are important for both technology transfer as well as mass adoption of technologies in India. Also the Technology Diffusion Centre needs to act like a hub for clean energy technological information as well as an innovation platform for their diffusion and adoption.

Author: Roselin Dey