Summary from the Chair of the Fourth Mission Innovation Ministerial (MI-4)

Vancouver, B.C.  on 28 May 2019

The Fourth Mission Innovation Ministerial meeting (MI-4) was held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on May 28, in conjunction with the 10th Clean Energy Ministerial meeting.  The meeting brought together delegations from all MI members, with Morocco welcomed as the 25th member, extending MI’s reach into Africa.

By building on the success of MI-3 and blending the traditional Ministerial setting with moderated discussions, panels, breakouts, and keynote presentations, MI-4 was an inclusive, dynamic and engaging platform that allowed members to demonstrate the impact of investments and raise collective ambition in clean energy innovation.

Over the course of the day, members took stock of progress against what MI set out to do in its Action Plan, including to seek to double public investments in clean energy innovation and increase collaboration with the private sector.

MI-4 Key Outcomes

Doubling commitment: MI members reported on efforts to meet their commitment, made at COP21 in Paris in 2015, to seek to double public sector investments.

  • Reporting MI members are on track to meet their doubling commitments, investing an additional $4.6B annually in clean energy innovation activities.
  • Focussing on the impact of these investments, members reported 59 new collaborative projects, representing $1.3B.

Collaborative projects: MI members are advancing the development of breakthrough technology solutions to address the most pressing clean energy needs.

  • The Smart Grids Innovation Challenge (IC1) launched their Smart Grids Innovation Accelerator (SGIA) in 2019. This open platform will gather best practices and successful projects in the field of smart grids to drive replication and broad adoption.
  • Showcasing the impact of collaborative efforts and investments, the Clean Energy Materials Innovation Challenge (IC6) demonstrated how artificial intelligence can drive a robotic platform to develop new materials faster and cheaper.
  • In partnership with the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings Challenge (IC7) spoke to the development of the “Comfort and Climate Box”, a new solution to provide integrated heating, cooling and energy storage, working with a smart energy grid.
  • Australia announced the first bilateral collaboration under the Hydrogen Challenge (IC8), launched at MI-3. This collaboration will bring together researchers from the University of British Columbia and Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization for research on hydrogen projects over the next three years.

New initiatives: MI members launched new initiatives and partnerships in an effort to accelerate the pace and scale of clean energy innovation around the world.

  • Canada announced “Breakthrough Energy Solutions Canada, a partnership with Breakthrough Energy, which will support up to 15 Canadian clean energy technology firms in developing solutions that have significant GHG potential (at least 0.5 gigatonnes) at global scale, across four domains – electricity, buildings, transport, and manufacturing.
  • Following up on its October announcement of a partnership with Breakthrough Energy, the European Commission officially launched their €100M fund.
  • Recognizing that energy innovation is critical for advancing clean energy transitions, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, enhancing energy security, promoting greater access to energy, and strengthening economic growth, MI announced a partnership with the World Bank, focussed on joint effort around shared innovation interests (smart grids and energy storage, sustainable cooling, and off-grid and mini grid access). As part of this, the Energy Storage Partnership was launched to accelerate the development and deployment of new storage solutions relevant to developing countries.
  • MI announced a partnership with the Global Covenant of Mayors, a global coalition of over 9200 cities and local governments, signalling a commitment to maximize synergy between the missions and objectives of the two initiatives – particularly in advancing the shared goal of accelerating clean energy innovation.

The Ministerial opened up dialogue beyond the public sector to include business leaders, investors, innovators, women, Indigenous populations, and youth.   Through an inaugural parallel Youth Programme, 70 youth from around the world participated in various sessions throughout the Ministerial.

The day started with a public-private breakfast, organized in partnership with Breakthrough Energy.  This session convened heads of delegation and business leaders for a discussion about how the public and private sectors can work together to invest in clean energy innovation.  Breakfast participants highlighted their experiences collaborating with partners and shared their observations about how policy can enable greater investment in the clean energy space.

Delegates then moved into the first of two closed-door plenary sessions, with Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honorable Amarjeet Sohi, welcoming MI members and partners to look back over the year and discuss the impact MI has achieved to date.  Through the annual impact review, “MI: The Story So Far,” members took stock of progress against what MI’s goals, followed-up on past announcements and highlighted collaboration between MI members and partners.

New this year, delegates were encouraged to think differently as they were presented with diverse perspectives in a unique “ignite talk” format – a fast-paced, short and engaging presentation.  With support from the International Energy Agency, the Ignite Talk featured a keynote speech from Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change (the Honourable Catherine McKenna), a presentation from a business leader’s perspective (Hendrik Van Asbroeck, ENGIE), a presentation from an innovator’s perspective (Professor Myoungju Lee, Myongji University), and a presentation from a youth’s perspective (Luciana Miu, Youth Leaders Forum).  Each speaker shared their views and experiences in their quest for clean energy solutions.  The recording of this session may be viewed here.

In collaboration with the World Economic Forum, MI-4 also delivered five public-private roundtables focused on smart grids, sustainable manufacturing, building cooling systems, clean mobility, and industrial transformation.  Discussions were lively, producing key insights and scalable collaboration opportunities that Mission Innovation members can take forward.  Participants heard from a diverse mix of perspectives from heads of delegation, partner organizations, industry, academia, Innovation Challenge leads, MI Champions, and youth delegates.  The discussions demonstrated that unlocking many of today’s greatest innovation opportunities requires taking a systems approach through governments joining forces with business from different sectors to enable solutions centred around consumer needs to emerge quickly.

In addition to welcoming Morocco as a new member, MI further extended its reach by welcoming nineteen MI Champions, who are part of a new program that was launched at the 3rd Mission Innovation Ministerial to recognize exceptional researchers and innovators who are accelerating the clean energy transition.  Over the next year, these Champions will work with MI to raise the profile of clean energy around the world.

Mr.  Ricardo Irarrazabal, Chile’s Undersecretary of Energy closed the day by inviting MI members to the fifth Mission Innovation Ministerial.  This followed an engaging discussion that mapped out opportunities to extend MI’s reach over the coming year, and to maximize MI’s presence at key events such as the UN Climate Action Summit and the G20.  Members focussed on efforts to raise ambition across both the public and the private sector over the coming year and opportunities for enhanced engagement beyond 2020 were discussed, with an agreement to explore options for sustaining MI commitments and continuing to build on momentum.

Participating members: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco (new member), Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States.