After conducting in-depth interviews, conferences and workshops to gather input from a wide variety of experts, WEF and KPMG introduced their research and findings in a whitepaper, Accelerating Sustainable Energy Innovation, followed by a briefing paper focused on six of the key proposals.

In order to help turn recommendations into action, WEF and KPMG are discussing the findings with a broad range of stakeholders in the global energy ecosystem, including investors, innovators, multilaterals and governments. Among their primary efforts is to establish the first global Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund (SEIF) blending public and private financing.

See below for more of WEF and KPMG’s proposals, as well as other resources focused on supporting global sustainable energy solutions.

Six bold ideas to accelerate sustainable energy innovation

The following six bold ideas, contained in the whitepaper Accelerating Sustainable Energy Innovation, were selected from a long list of options based on the highest level of interest from experts within the energy ecosystem.

  1. Aligning public and private investment through automatic co-investment mechanisms

    Proposal: Establish effective public-private co-investment mechanisms to support and finance start-ups engaged in deep-tech energy innovation.

    Public authorities would select highly qualified private investors as partners for investment in innovative projects, rather than selecting projects themselves. Once the private investor decides to back a project, the public authority would match the investment with public funding. Alternatively, if the private investor proposed a project, the co-investment would be made semi-automatically, after due diligence.
    In both cases, this idea would ensure a streamlined process with low transaction costs and effective targeting of the funds.

  2. Establish an independent sustainable energy innovation fund (SEIF)

    Proposal: Establish a fund to finance innovative and sustainable energy technology projects, blending public and private sources of capital.

    The WEF and KPMG have started to put this bold idea into practice and are in the process of launching the Global Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund. The proposed SEIF could enable both public and private investors to back innovative energy technologies on a risk-adjusted basis. The SEIF targets a different investor class than the proposed automatic co-investment instrument because it takes a portfolio approach, appointing a professional investment manager and applying the principles of blended finance to mitigate risk.

    > For more information, read our update on the Global Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund


  3. Increase the role of strategic public procurement in energy innovation

    Proposal: Move public procurement into the mainstream as a way to accelerate development and commercialization.

    Public procurement can be an enabler of innovation for technologies at all parts of the development cycle. Public procurement of energy innovations would provide first markets for technologies and solutions that are ready for commercial deployment or are in pre-commercial stages of development.

  4. Develop and implement energy technology roadmaps through public-private collaboration

    Proposal: Create a multi-stakeholder consensus on how sustainable energy technologies and solutions with high potential but slow progress could be developed faster in order to achieve energy and climate policy targets.

    The proposal advocates that low-carbon transition roadmaps are more systemic, rather than focused on a specific technology or product. Therefore, the approach to system innovation simultaneously mobilizes interdependent areas such as technology development, market mechanisms, regulations and social innovation. Key public and private actors need to work together to define key hurdles to overcome, create a credible fast-track through the R&D and innovation stages, and outline practical actions to take. 

  5. Create national institutions for energy innovation

    Proposal: Establish national institutions that function as a single voice of public support of energy innovation.

    Bundle responsibilities for energy innovation into these institutions, including authority for public funding as well as oversight and direction for the overall process of sustainable energy innovation. The entity would be responsible for the national energy innovation agenda and act to ensure a coordinated collaboration among all stakeholders, including the private sector, innovators, investors and academia. 

  6. Establish “super-transparency” of public R&D expenditure

    Proposal: Combine a number of different measures, mechanisms and tools to make the public R&D funding process more efficient by increasing the transparency of opportunities for innovators.

    Measures include creating a well-structured government website bundling all information on national public funding opportunities, such as the application process, requirements, availability of funds and the time frame; digitizing the application process via a single online portal; and establishing regular reporting on public R&D expenditure with clearly defined goals and essential performance indicators.

    > For greater detail on the six bold ideas, read our briefing paper.
    > For more on these and additional ideas, as well as more about the research and deliberation behind the recommendations, read our whitepaper.

     

This project has helped raise the profile of sustainable energy innovation and its critical importance to the climate change agenda. This in turn, we hope, will encourage greater collaboration and interaction between the investment and innovation communities.

Mike Hayes
Global Leader of Renewables
KPMG in Ireland

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