Accelerating clean energy innovation is essential to limiting the rise in global temperatures to well below 2˚C. The global community has made remarkable progress in driving down the costs and increasing the use of key clean energy options. However, these impressive gains are still insufficient to meet our long-term climate goals while providing affordable, reliable and secure energy supplies. In support of these efforts, members launched MI in 2015 with the following goal:
In support of economic growth, energy access and security, and an urgent and lasting global response to climate change, our mission is to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation to achieve performance breakthroughs and cost reductions to provide widely affordable and reliable clean energy solutions that will revolutionize energy systems throughout the world over the next two decades and beyond.
– Enabling Framework for Mission Innovation
As part of the launch statement, members committed to:
- Seek to double their governmental and/or state-directed clean energy clean energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) investments over five years.
- Work closely with the private sector as it increases its investment in the earlier-stage clean energy companies that emerge from government programs.
- Build and improve technology innovation roadmaps and other tools to help in our innovation efforts, to understand where RD&D is already happening, and to identify gaps and opportunities for new kinds of innovation.
- Provide, on an annual basis, transparent, easily-accessible information on their respective clean energy RD&D efforts
Delivering the goal
The majority of efforts through MI occurs at the national level. However, members recognise the importance of international collaborative efforts to achieve the overall goal. MI has therefore developed an Action Plan, launched at the 2nd MI Ministerial in 2017, setting out four objectives to deliver the overall goal.
By the end of 2020, MI will have helped deliver the following outcomes:
- A substantial boost in public-sector investment in clean energy RD&D at the national level of MI members.
- Increased private sector engagement and investment in energy innovation, particularly in key Innovation Challenges.
- Many new or strengthened voluntary cross-border networks and partnerships on energy innovation, greater engagement from innovators, and accelerated progress in addressing specific Innovation Challenges.
- Greater awareness amongst MI members and the wider clean energy community of the transformational potential of energy innovation, the progress being made, and the remaining critical clean energy innovation gaps and opportunities.
1. Substantial boost in public sector investment
The 24 MI members represent more than 80 percent of global clean energy RD&D budgets. Key activities linked to this goal include:
- Annual member updates: MI will continue to publish an annual Country Book highlighting the strategies, activities and public-sector investments (including increments to MI baselines and progress towards the doubling commitment) implemented by members to advance clean energy innovation.
- Strengthen public and private sector RD&D data: MI members will work with collaborating organisations, including the IEA and IRENA, to strengthen the collection of data and to facilitate improved tracking of clean energy public sector and private sector RD&D investment data at a national and global level.
2. Increased private sector engagement and investment
The private sector plays a vital role in the commercialization and cost-effectiveness of clean energy breakthroughs. Entrepreneurs, investors and businesses drive innovation from the laboratory into the marketplace. Activities that MI and members are undertaking to strengthen private sector engagement include:
- Framework for assessing avoided emissions: MI will launch a framework to support investors and funders in identifying those system solutions and technologies that have significant ability, or potential, to contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions in society, so called avoided emissions.
- Collaboration with external organisations: MI will continue to work with external organisations, particularly the World Economic Forum and Breakthrough Energy Coalition, to maximise engagement with the private sector to progress impact towards our shared goals.
3. Increasing international collaboration
To help focus members’ resources on the most promising paths, MI fosters collaboration to share lessons learned, reduce duplication of effort, and combine complementary strengths.
- International collaborations: MI encourages members to form bilateral and multilateral initiatives. New international clean energy RD&D collaborations that MI countries have engaged in since the launch of MI are tracked through Country Book submissions.
- Innovation Challenges: MI members participate in MI’s Innovation Challenges, initiatives that aim to increase collaboration on topics identified as key to advancing the clean energy innovation agenda.
4. Raising awareness
Several MI initiatives aim to build the excitement and momentum needed to accelerate the clean energy innovation.
- Clean energy innovation on the global agenda: MI highlights the importance of clean energy innovation and the work of MI through proactive participation at key events, online and through social media and targeted press opportunities.
- Supporting ideas and innovators: MI will work with members to celebrate clean energy RD&D achievements and the innovators who are leading the way towards a sustainable future.
- Assess progress in key clean energy technology areas: MI will analyse indicators currently used by international organisations to track the technical and economic progress of clean energy technologies and will adapt or expand them in order to assess global innovation progress in key technology areas of interest to MI.
High-level leadership is provided by MI members’ Ministers with responsibility for clean energy innovation. The MI Steering Committee, comprised of member representatives, provides strategic guidance to foster implementation of MI’s Enabling Framework. Core administrative functions are carried out by the MI Secretariat, a small, flexible team supporting the Steering Committee.
Three MI Sub-Groups carry out specific tasks:
- Analysis and Joint Research: Mobilizes the collective knowledge, capabilities and resources of members to maximize impact across eight technology areas, known as Innovation Challenges, which MI members have identified as critical to address climate change.
- Business and Investor Engagement: Assists MI members in identifying opportunities and engaging the private sector.
- Ministerial Planning Team: Provides strategic and diplomatic oversight for the annual MI Ministerial.