UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2011 Focuses on Renewable Energy Technologies for Development

29 November 2011: The 2011 edition of the "Technology and Innovation Report," published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), focuses on the role of renewable energy technologies (RETs) in responding to the challenge of reducing energy poverty while mitigating climate change.

The report calls for the international agenda to place a greater focus on the technological empowerment of developing countries in the area of renewable energy technologies (RETs). Key messages on the technology and innovation capacity for RETs include: there is a need for a new paradigm that seeks to complement, and eventually substitute, conventional energy sources with RETs; RETs such as solar or onshore wind wind are experiencing rapid technological progress and reductions in energy production costs; and much progress can be achieved in alleviating energy poverty by focusing on rural, off-grid applications alongside efforts to establish more technologically and financially intensive grid-based RET applications.

The report proposes an integrated innovation policy framework for RET use, adaptation, innovation and production in developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs), noting that such a framework requires close coordination between the national innovation systems that provide the necessary conditions for the development of RETs, and the energy policies that promote the gradual integration of RETs into industrial development strategies.

On the national level, such a policy framework should have the following functions: defining policy strategies and goals; providing policy incentives for research and development, innovation and production of RETs; providing policy incentives for greater technological absorptive capacity; promoting domestic resource mobilization; and exploring newer means of improving innovation capacity in RETs including South-South collaboration.

With regard to international support for such activities the report calls for: an international innovation framework for LDCs focusing on RETs; global and regional research funds for RET development; an international RET technology transfer fund; and an international RET training platform. [Publication: Technology and Innovation Report 2011][UNCTAD Press Releases]