12 Apr - 30 Apr 2021

Discussion Room 4: Innovation, Technology and Data

Caroline Tresise • 1 April 2021

The Thematic Discussion rooms are now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated in our consultation, we will be sharing the summaries and the key results shortly. The Networking Lounge and News Room will remain open, please check back for more updates.


You are now in the Discussion Room for Innovation, Technology and Data. 

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The context

This cross-cutting theme focuses on advancing energy access, energy transitions as well as enabling the SDGs through the development and application of data; technology, innovation, research and capacity building measures, as well as through integrated policy making and regulation that are necessary to achieve SDG7.

Innovation has played a critical enabling role in progressing towards the SDG7 targets. While the uptake of renewable energy technologies has been growing and prices declining over the past few years, innovation in enabling technologies, such as smart metering, energy storage and battery technologies, will be critical in transforming power systems. The same can be said about financial and social innovation where disruptive business models and behavior change will be the key drivers in rethinking the future energy systems and guiding future investments in the field.

The need to deliver the SDGS within the next 9 years is further driving a shift in innovation priorities beginning from the role of energy in the power sector, to addressing a broader range of challenges and opportunities of the energy system and its intersection with sectors such as transport, health, agro-industries and food-value chains, manufacturing, buildings and urban infrastructure.

Energy is also now seen as a mechanism to address issues of exclusion where renewable energies provide an opportunity to improve the lives of those living in slums and informal settlements, for example, or as a mechanism to improve gender equality for women and girls through the interface of renewable energy sources reducing domestic workloads and offering livelihood opportunities.

What is the overall goal of this consultation?

We want to draw on the life experiences and knowledge of young people to make recommendations that support youth to become industry leaders and advance innovation in the energy sector, while hearing their perspectives on some of the biggest challenges in addressing SDG7 from a technological perspective.



1. Disruptive Innovation

  • Disruptive innovation and technology are often cited as one of the key enablers for achieving SDG7. What do you think is needed to boost innovation and tech in developing contexts?

2. Scale

  • It is often said that we have the technology to achieve SDG7 and Net-Zero by 2050. Drawing on your own experiences, what are the key barriers to scaling up the deployment of renewables?

3. Transport

The transport sector is often cited as the biggest challenge (think shipping and aviation) to decarbonization.

  • What role can youth play in innovating transport? Youth capacity building What are the entry-points for youth to become clean energy entrepreneurs or even to enter the energy sector?
  • What extra support is needed? (ie. how can we bridge the skills gap?)

4. Social innovations

  • What other social innovations are necessary to push us forward?
  • What is the role of civil society in putting pressure on our governments?
  • To what extent is culture a barrier?

For background information, please read the official materials uploaded by the HLDE Secretariat:

Our lead moderator who will be preparing recommendations for the Technical Working Groups is Ms. Helen Watts, Senior Director of Global Partnerships, Student Energy

Rules of Engagement:

  • This discussion is open to any young person between 16-30 years
  • Please be respectful of each other and the moderators
  • Please respond to the questions posted by the moderators
  • Let us know which question you are answering in your comments
  • You may post anonymously
  • You may post in any language, SparkBlue has a live translation feature
  • Click follow at the top of the page to receive notifications.

Comments (67)

Helen Watts Moderator

Hello everyone!

Thank you so much for all your contributions, ideas, case studies, and insights. I am so grateful to have learned from all of you, and to the UNDP for convening this space to better represent youth priorities in the HLDE this September.

As we close out this discussion, I am very happy to share two outcomes with you:

  1. I have attached a working summary of the inputs through the UNDP Youth Consultation process, as well as some further research done through Student Energy and the Global Youth Energy Outlook that were provided to the HLDE co-chairs and champions to inform the next draft thematic report. Any discussion points after our deadline to submit that first round of input to the HLDE I've added as an addendum at the end of the document and plan to incorporate this into my next round of feedback on the summary draft reports released earlier this week.
  2. In the latest draft summary for the TWG Innovation Technology and Data, we managed to successfully incorporate specific priorities on youth capacity-building and entrepreneurship - such exciting progress that could pave the way for a broader recognition of the critical role youth play in achieving SDG7 in partnership with governments and other actors!

I would also like to extend a huge thank-you to the UNDP organizers and conveners, including my co-moderators Han Chen and Sumaiya Binte Ferdous, and of course Caroline Tresise who was our fearless leader organizing this entire process! 

Sumaiya Binte Ferdous Moderator

Helen Watts, you have done a great job! 

Han Chen Moderator

Thank you so much for the great work Helen! Huge thanks to all the youth that have participated in the consultation!

Caroline Tresise Moderator

Thank you to all our participants and to our moderator team, led by Helen Watts and supported ably by Sumaiya Binte Ferdous and Han Chen! I am really happy with the results and look forward to determining the next steps with this group. 

Caroline Tresise Moderator

Hello and Welcome! Discussion Room 4 on Innovation, Technology and Data is now officially OPEN

Han Chen Moderator

Hi everyone! This is Han Chen from China, one of the co-leads in this discussion. Glad to meet you all here! For those who speak Chinese, I have a special welcome video for you here.

I have an interdisciplinary background - I studied tourism management for 6 years then interned at UNESCO Beijing Office and also traineed at UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme for nearly 2 years. Currently, I am working as Program Associate at Energy Foundation China, focusing on cooling efficiency related projects.

Please come and join the discussion! You can also speak(type) in your own language! No points too small. Look forward to hearing from you!

Cheers! :)))

Anahita Hosseini


This is Anahita and I would like to go over the first question with regards to disruptive innovation:

I think in the context of developing countries, where many institutional barriers exist and prevent them from adopting innovative technologies and practices, international organizations such as UNDP and UNIDO could play a key role. They can leverage their experience in other countries by using their models and best practices and in collaboration with the governments and NGOs in developing countries facilitate adoption of innovative approaches and technologies. 

In many countries, like my country Iran, where there are many educated people in the fields of engineering and sciences, it might be easier to integrate technology and innovation into lives of people, especially in big cities. However, this might lead to more technological inequalities and gaps among cities and regions. So one thing to flag here is to make sure no one is left behind. I think one important aspect of benefiting from innovation and technology is to first provide those who are left behind with the tools and capabilities that enables them to keep themselves up-to-date so that they can build upon those tools and be empowered to become early adopters of newer technologies.

Another important issue is paying attention to the fact that many businesses and livelihoods, and more often in rural areas and less developed regions, are not sustainable over time and can be replaced by technology. Therefore, one of the roles of the implementing institution is to keep this in mind and facilitate the gradual shift from older methods to adopting newer technology.

I am looking forward to hearing from other members and learning about their ideas and experience in this area.




Helen Watts Moderator

These are really excellent and important points Anahita. I completely agree that the "leave no one behind" in SDG 7 cannot be forgotten in the context of technology and innovation. Social innovation through bottom-up and community-led approaches has a lot of potential for the points you raise

Anahita Hosseini

Helen Watts I totally agree! Engaging the community and ownership of results make the transition much more natural and definitely easier to implement than a top-bottom approach.

Ben Robinson

Helen Watts I agree that a bottom up approach is a more effective way but often big agencies just dont do it. How do we get organisations to invest in changing methodologies (and funders to persuade them) that have existed for longer than a lot of us have been alive? 


i completely agree with you. Thanks

Helen Watts Moderator

Hello everyone! So excited to kick off this discussion group as your lead moderator along with our amazing co-moderators Han and Sumaiya!

If you missed the launch event this morning, here is a short intro from me and Caroline has included a fantastic set of resources at the top of this page to get you started on the questions, background reading, and rules of engagement to keep the conversation constructive and respectful. 

Please feel free to start the discussion by sharing your perspectives and input on the four topics (disruptive innovation, scaling technology, transportation, social innovation), introducing yourself and/or asking any questions you have for us. 

I look forward to learning from all of you and taking your perspectives into the High-level Dialogue on Energy! 

Filip Koprcina

From my perspective, the biggest barriers are regulations, monopolies and state-owned companies. To be a producer of clean energy, there are a set of regulations and special permissions you need to have to start a company producing clean energy. Then you need to get a permission from usually state-owned companies to use the grid to transfer the energy from the production facility to the end consumer.

Next, the sale of energy has a lot of risks involved, as generally you don’t have a fixed price at which you can sell the energy, and state-owned companies usually award the agreements to bigger companies as their rates are much more favourable than smaller scale power plants that new entrepreneurs can offer.

Lending rates and interest rates in banks pose a big threat to profitability and making the business financially viable. In many countries, even in the EU, the interest rates are +5%, while in non-EU and “third world” countries they reach between 15-20%, making projects in those countries unprofitable.


To overcome those challenges, I would recommend creating more opportunities for young startup companies to work with bigger energy companies, have pilot projects, proofs of concept for new technologies, opportunities for mentorship from employees of those big companies and opportunities for investment afterwards.

It is extremely hard to innovate in the energy sector because of the needed certificates for the equipment, inability to test it in real world scenarios, and if this is not available, then raising an investment to grow those companies is  impossible.


Another barrier that should be mentioned is the network reliability regulation, where each Megawatt of renewable energy has to be covered with 1 Megawatt from “old sources”. This is done by the states themselves to ensure that in the evenings when the sun is not shining, and wind is not blowing, that they are still able to supply the grid reliably.


Last but not least, there is a good directive from the EU that has been put in place few years ago. It enables customers to become producers or prosumers, by putting solar panels on the roofs of their houses and to sell extra energy to the grid. In some countries it works well, in some it doesn’t work at all as the price prosumers get for their extra energy isn’t even 50% of the normal price per kilowatt hour. That’s why even when they install solar systems, they are advised to install a 20% smaller capacity system, to be cost efficient.

Anahita Hosseini

Excellent point Filip on regulations! I feel sometimes along the way rulers forgot the main purpose of rules and regulations and they now impose more challenges and barriers, rather than bringing across structure and standards.

Rita-Chiara Mele Moderator

Great points Filip Koprcina, thank you for your contribution! Regulation and access to finance are definetely major bottlenecks to address when it comes to integrating VRE. As you mentioned, national energy planning and vertically integration structure of energy market play a pivotal role, not to mention system stability where innovation and technology have definitely an enabling role. The possibility of collaboration between young startups with energy companies is a very interesting point to raise in this discussion: Any specific ideas or projects to share? 

Filip Koprcina

If I can also add to my comment, nobody seems to have accounted for Research and Development, or generally innovations in the space. In the last 20 years there has been a boom in new technologies, while for the next 30 years it is not mentioned at all. Technologies advancing like fusion, hydrogen fuel cell technologies, improvement in the existing technologies, or storage and batteries improvement. Which have a great potential of replacing and advancing the energy transition.

Sumaiya Binte Ferdous Moderator

Hi everyone! This is Sumaiya from Bangladesh, one of the co-leads of moderation in this discussion. Delighted to be a part of this amazing working group. 

I am already amazed to see some of your perspicacious comments. After reading those, I am certain this will be wind up into an extremely fruitful and enlightening discussion. 

Looking forward to your further contributions. Each of your opinions is extremely valuable to us. 

Thank you



Rita-Chiara Mele Moderator

Greetings everybody! This is Rita, IUNV Energy expert from UNDP Comoros.

This is a such a great opportunity to bridge solutions all around the world on entrepreneurship as a key enabler to reaching SDG7, and make youth voice heard on how to foster a just transition through digital transformation with a LNOB approach. 

Looking forward to hearing from you to share experiences, projects, and ideas, 



Dinh-Long Pham

Hello everyone! While I'm getting familiar with all the documents, I wanted to share one project I've seen in Cambodia that came to my mind as it totally fits 1. Disruptive innovation, 2. Scale and 4. Social innovation! I'm sure some of you heard about them already :)

It's called Okra Solar - Energy Access Technology for the Last Mile: "Okra’s hardware and software empowers energy companies – from mini-grid developers to SHS distributors – to deploy and manage last-mile projects at scale."

They have also been highlighted by UNDP Cambodia very recently here: https://undpcambodia.exposure.co/power-to-the-people

If you know any other inspiring impact startups, please share on this thread as well, would love to explore more! 

Caroline Tresise Moderator

Hi Dinh-Long, this is such a great initiative, thank you for sharing it with the group. It's definitely an important example of entrepreneurship and innovation in energy access that creates a really obvious boost for the local (informal) economy. There are some great testimonials of more people starting their own businesses as a direct result of this initiative.

Saand Youssouf Ahmed Abdallah Moderator

Hi everyone, I am Saand from Vomoros islands. 
Thank you all for bringing your perspective on these questions, I would like to remind us that we should not forget that most of the countries lack data and well trained people that can actually implement and use effectively whatever technology is available... we have still countries where even if tomorrow we were given the opportunity to access finance and technology, the existing policies, regulations and HR is not ready.

Many young people from those countries do not feel like participating in such discussions if they know that no matter what we’re so far behind everybody else that by the time we catch up on other countries ... 30 to 50 years already went by

And I know from experience that this is why many young people from countries like mine do not engage in these consultations 

However we still need to make them understand that no action is not a solution neither ... and that’s a big challenge 

In comoros we do not have electricity 24/7 internet is quite expensive especially form young people who often do not have jobs... on top of that the network is not reliable.. and I believe this is also the reality of many other youth from different regions. So asking them to add their perspective online so they can be represented by a couple of other youth that are not living their reality can seem unfair is 🤷🏾‍♂️...

But we will keep pushing cause again no action is never an option for us ! 

Helen Watts Moderator

Hi Saand, I completely agree this is a huge challenge and something we encounter a lot in Student Energy. Even offering our training & skill-building free of cost (one big barrier for youth to access the training they need to participate in the energy transition), this even only goes so far when you work across 100+ countries with varying internet access challenges, especially when it comes to engaging youth in rural and remote regions. 

Technology should definitely not be considered as a silver bullet solution to the energy transition, and this is where the potential of social innovation comes in. Have you seen any social innovations in island contexts that address energy transition issues in combination with addressing social and policy challenges?

Some that come to mind for me on the social entrepreneurship side are Gridspan Energy (Anguilla), Green Gold Fish in Blue Water (Vanuatu), Isdabest (Philippines)

Helen Watts Moderator

Hello everyone! We are aiming to get feedback from all of you on this topic by the end of the week so we can make sure to incorporate your perspectives into the youth-led input provided to the HLDE under each Technical Working Group. 

With that said, please do continue to contribute your ideas, perspectives, solutions, and best practices you've seen, and the challenges and barriers to unlocking Innovation, Technology, and Data to achieve universal clean energy access by 2030! 

Some refreshed prompts I invite you to respond to:

  1. How can social innovation accelerate a sustainable energy transition by 2030?
  2. What are the key barriers in scaling renewable energy technology for on-grid power systemsoff-grid (last-mile communities), and the heavy industry sector (including heavy transportation, such as shipping)?
  3. What data, research, and development is needed to transform the policy, technology, and regulatory landscape to enable an inclusive sustainable energy transition?


Anahita Hosseini

Thank you Helen for the new topics. It's unfortunate that I saw this very late. But I'm going to comment anyway haha:D

On #3:

I think this is highly context dependent because the regulatory and policy landscape varies in different countries and they are at different stages of the energy transition. So I think a proper solution would require in depth research about the specific context.

But in general, I think governments who have a stake in the energy transition and potential for benefiting or losing from it, should be convinced through research and data, that this is going to benefit them in order to transition to an enabling policy environment. A lot of academic research might be out there, providing evidence on how delaying the transition is bad for different countries and it's not sustainable and how it is going to negatively affect everyone in the future. But I think the research we are looking for has to be targeted at policy makers specifically, and the research has to be smart in highlighting the motivation for transition. Also, an issue, especially in developing countries with weaker institutions, is that academic research does not necessarily guide policies. In general, science does not guide policies. The example of my own country always comes in handy in such cases. History has proven that policies haven't always been in line with what academia would suggest or recommend and therefore many of these policies have either failed to serve their purpose, or succeeded in benefiting the policy makers who had hidden agenda and short-term gains. In addition to some policy makers being reluctant to make policies based on science, I think another issue with research is that academic research is not necessarily in a language that can be easily understood by policy makers without any misunderstandings. So I think in between research and policy makers we need another stage of translation of the academic research to easily understandable language. This could be done by academia themselves, or by people from the policy makers side (more technical people), or another entity.

With regards to the content of research, I think policy makers may be more interested in success stories and similar cases in different countries, than in research that uses data from the country and tries to forecast or model the situations and draw out policy implications. Case studies and success stories are easier to understand and well, they are SUCCESS stories, so they have a positive impact.

With regards to data, I think in countries that haven't begun the transition process or are at early stages, using the country's data does not provide much info about future gains, since the research sort of becomes a counterfactual analysis. Therefore in the case of early-stage countries, it would be better to use data from other countries, especially to address macro issues related to energy transition. For countries that are in mid-stages the data from that country can be used to illustrate the dynamics over the years and the benefits of transition. In addition to macro-level data, I think firm-level data could also be used to indicate the response of energy companies, specifically renewable energy companies, to adopted policies that were meant to serve the energy transition to provide evidence on their effectiveness.

To sum up, I think regarding research, there are a number of challenges and points to keep in mind:

1. Institutional issues, such as corruption or reluctance to make policies based on research

2. Communication of research implications

3. Focusing on case studies and success stories

Regarding data, I think two types of data levels can be used: Macro and Micro.

For macro-level data: in the case of countries at early stages of transition, data from other countries should be used for illustrating the macro benefits of the transition. For mid-stage countries, data from the same country can be used to track the dynamics over the years.

For micro-level data: data from energy companies and firms can be used to see how they adapted and responded to policies which were meant to benefit the energy transition.

Axell Sutton

To accelerate energy transition through innovation, it is very necessary to understand that innovation is not reflection, but an application of reflection, and that is why technology is not innovation. 

Technology does not solve or generate any competitive advantage if it is not applied, and that is where the innovation is, in the application itself.

Innovation for energy transition is nothing if it is not contextualized and put to use, in addition to taking into account that innovation based on nature would also give us results, not only technological.

Innovation will allow us to act in a climate crisis in many ways, starting with obtaining digital or analog data, which when interpreted will give us key information and sufficient knowledge to design and implement solutions, giving them meaning and use for society

It is crucial to simultaneously innovate in our behavior in the next 5 years, the way we organize and mobilize regionally, how we collaborate to address all problems and how we create networks of actors aligned and not aligned with the roots of the problem

Helen Watts Moderator

Beautifully said Axell! This is where systems-level solutions and social innovation really shines - when you work with a whole suite of "tools" like technology, data, best case practices, and an understanding of the human dimension of the SDG7 challenge, to come up with new ways and interventions to apply solutions. 

Do you have any favourite ways you've seen technology, data or policy applied in integrated, innovative ways where they tackle more than one issue related to the energy transition?

Ben Robinson

Hi all! The idea of social innovations in energy is pretty close to my heart at the moment. For the last three years, as part of my phd I have been developing a way of building complex socio-cultural, environmental and financial contextual factors into the implementation of energy technologies that have the ability to alleviate poverty. Often engineers (in the International Development and especially the Humanitarian aid sectors) focus on the technical development of energy technologies, chasing improved efficiencies and capacities, rather than looking to understanding the complex socio-cultural, environmental and financial contextual factors that often override the technical capabilities and become the major barriers to sucess. You can find more about what i do here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3GHRp9Ewt4&t=2s. Would love to discuss more with anyone!

Helen Watts Moderator

Such important work Ben, the clean cooking challenge does not feature prominently enough in conversations about the energy transition and even conversations about achieving universal access which tend to emphasize electrification, decentralization and off-grid solutions. Would love to highlight a couple of my favourite organizations doing work on social innovation/social enterprises for the clean cooking challenge:

  • WEYE (Waste to Energy Youth Enterprise - led by a young entrepreneur Brian Kakembo in Uganda) 
  • Nexleaf Analytics cookstoves program
  • Mimi Moto
  • Inyenyeri
  • Solar Sister
  • KOKO Networks
  • Clean Cooking Alliance
Rita-Chiara Mele Moderator

Thank you Ben for sharing your work; It is always so inspiring to get to know projects and research! To address question 3 "What data, research, and development is needed to transform the policy, technology, and regulatory landscape to enable an inclusive sustainable energy transition?" and regarding access to data mentioned above, make data-driven energy decisions is critical: This could be seen as the converging point of technical development and systemic approach of energy planning.

Within your work, have you identifed any kind of digital solutions/ tools to track the complex socio-cultural, environmental and financial contextual factors you mentioned? 

Looking forward to further discussing 



Anahita Hosseini

That is very true Ben regarding focusing on the technical engineering aspects rather than socio-economic aspects. 

Society drives and requests change. Needs and wants arise from within the society and then products are built to respond to them. It's not vice versa. And in facilitating this transition, considering the socio-economic context definitely plays a key role.

Pratham Maheshwari

I believe young entrepreneurs are an excellent medium of producing the required technology at feasibility. A tri-lateral relationship between young entrepreneurs from both rural and urban areas, government and/or private companies could develop a framework of building and implementing technology. Young entrepreneurs who have potential ideas could get funded from private companies as venture capitalism from where companies could get an incentive. Government could provide aid to this relationship through infrastructural support, promotion and subsidies and in return the responsibility of working towards SDG could be through the medium of young entrepreneurs' ideas. 

Helen Watts Moderator

Love this! Kind of like a new youth-inclusive blended finance model and youth-led solutions subsidy program. Some similar ideas came out of a consultation process we did with the Leadership Group for Industry Transition in December: https://www.industrytransition.org/insights/youth-perspectives-on-indus….


Would government-funded incubators, accelerators, or even clean energy innovation hubs align with what you're suggesting here?

Pratham Maheshwari

Helen Watts They might agree. Any organisation which has the responsibility to provide clean energy to people may agree because in the proposed framework, the responsibility is distributed to young entrepreneurs and innovators. If youth is able to provide what organisations are supposed to, then they might even support them because eventually their responsibility is distributed amongst more stakeholders.


To boost innovation mosting in developping countries, incentive programs such as those often proposed by the UNDP most be more closer to innovators. This can be through communication of be to be, because most individuals creating are not aware of many program that can support or follow up the reseatch. Secondly, we have our state program that has to boost research program in their educational system, pushing young talent to go over innovation and aslos through support. Lastly entreprises have major role to play in the this process of boosting innovation through good framework of most apprentice in their company.

Helen Watts Moderator

Great ideas Bigambia, I agree this is such a challenge because incentive programs are so often targeted at big players in the field (where governments can make a reasonable estimate that the incentive program will have a big impact on the market, job creation, and/or measurable GHG reductions) - which leaves youth-led enterprises out of the mix as fairly high-risk, low-level impact (at their early stage) - in turn resulting in a negative impact on the pipeline of young entrepreneurs ready to scale their clean energy solutions. These suggestions are key:

  • Youth-inclusive, accessible incentive programs to support young innovators
  • Better R&D facilities and clean energy training in the education system
  • Accessible apprenticeships, paid internships and entry-level positions for youth to gain experience working in clean energy companies 

Our Culture influences many leaders, entrepreneurs etc today and in the past. Infact, each of us has experienced such events. Eventhough it's true that many other's or new generations (youth are trying to harmonise this, due to standards).

This may also be a serious factor to attain SDG7 goals by 2035, because many regions of the world are trying to protect or conserve their culture in decisions making either in innovation, technology development, entrepreneuship, eduaction and etc.

Jai Shekhar

Hi all, great to see so much enthusiasm in this discussion. 

Before we get into the importance of scalability and integration, I would like to point out how important it is to gain the trust of locals before asking them to integrate clean energy technology into their lives. Here in India, my team founder a last-mile distribution company called Candela Energy. During our products pilots, we were shocked to see that most of the locals were not ready to use advanced life-improving products only because they did not trust their functionality. Large scale dissemination strategies of any technology are just as important as the technology itself. 

Hence to summarise, I believe that clear energy integration is no just about technology or economics, but also includes various aspects of understanding communities and their problems.

Rita-Chiara Mele Moderator

Hello Jai, Thank you for your return of experience from the field. Definitely, identifying socio-economic bottlenecks upstream within last-mile communities is key for successful projects. Readiness to change might have an impact on willingness to pay (WtP) and thus, on the business model. Digital planning has a major role in terms of measuring impacts and raising energy services awareness and scalability to promote the energy and digital transition. 

How did your company address this bottleneck?  


Transportation (supply chain) of clean energy may be very costly and may equally need modern technology for the future years ahead. The complexity of this transportation, will result to high prices sale this clean energy.

So to resolve such a situation, youth contribution should be done at the level ameliorating our supply chain management system.


Dinh-Long Pham

Hi Bigambia and thanks for all your comments so far! Do you know any companies, programs, projects or initiatives in line with youth and supply chain management for clean energy?


Dinh-Long Pham yes of course, we came with a project call easy waste. Which goal is manage waste especially face mufflers, mask etc already used, and the tracking is done via an application.

In Cameroon, we have the national company HYSACAM, that has a program of managing the supply chain of these waste resources and it transformation.

We have equally private project organized in non profit associations to tackle these supply chain, in partnership with municipal council.

Neel Tamhane

Hi Folks,
I'm Neel, I am the Solar Strategy Lead at SPACE10 (IKEA's innovation lab) where I'm leading research explorations and identifying opportunities for how solar energy can become a key enabler for communities with limited means to improve their everyday life at home. I previously also lead a research study to better understand people's needs, dreams and aspirations with regards to energy in 4 continents. 

I've previously worked on building 300+ mini-grids in India in association with the Rockefeller Foundation (Smart Power India) and subsequently also led the product development for the world's first peer-to-peer energy trading platform in Bangladesh. (SOLshare).

Would be glad to connect with like-minded people on LinkedIn and Twitter to explore synergies. 

Here are a few of my initial reflections on the prompts:

  1. How can social innovation accelerate a sustainable energy transition by 2030?

    - There are a lot more ways in which innovations can include people while they are being designed. 
    - Building solutions to enable people to play a more active role in energy decisions is critical
    - Designing solutions to nudge people towards more energy-efficient solutions can also go a long way in involving people in the process

  2. What are the key barriers in scaling renewable energy technology for on-grid power systemsoff-grid (last-mile communities), and the heavy industry sector (including heavy transportation, such as shipping)?

    - Upfront capital investments still remain the major bottleneck, energy transitions can be accelerated through more financial innovations as well
    - Localised manufacturing, production and assembly can also give rise to new circular business models
  3. What data, research, and development is needed to transform the policy, technology, and regulatory landscape to enable an inclusive sustainable energy transition?

    - Local investment in R&D 
    - Low Tech - Data optimised energy-efficient solutions 
Han Chen Moderator

Hi Neel! This is Han, thank you so much for your inputs and ideas.

I think these are some quite succinct but spot-on points. If I understand correctly, under the first question, you basically argue that it is important to incorporate innovation at the designing stage and building solutions for people to engage in this process easily. Then in the second question you mention that it is crucial the capital investment and localization of the manufacturing and producing process. Lastly, you emphasize again local investment and low-tech solutions which I think can contribute to more inclusive policy-making and engagement.

Neel Tamhane

Han Chen yes indeed. There is a lot of room to design community solutions as well. Nudging behaviour of consumption through better-designed solutions can play a big role in enabling social innovations as well. Needless to say, financial inclusion and availability of financing solutions can also enable better adoption of more energy-efficient technologies. 

With regards to the 2nd question, I insisted on localised manufacturing as it supports local economies, improves circularity and builds a robust local after-sales infrastructure to repair, replace and recycle products. e.g. Bangladesh and the SHS program that started there gave rise to at least 10 local manufacturers, 3 internationally acclaimed DC appliance manufacturers and supported over 100,000 jobs locally. 

Samuel Adunreke

Amazing discussions in here. What could Africa do better in adopting large scale deployments of energy efficient infrastructure management and audits with https://me-solshare.com/ Neel Tamhane what can this solution do better in measuring community carbon offsets and in particular for use in African countries to monitor transparency and efficiency of solar farms. Has this storage facility been deployed in Africa yet? Please you could reachout to innoveaenergy@gmail.com

Samuel Adunreke

We'd like to mention our concept within the social innovation scopes which forms a nexus between SDG7 and SDG4.

Over 17 Million young African between the ages 11-17 find it difficult to cope with learning seasmlessly like their peers in developed nations. This has been due to incesant power outages in communities.

https://linkedin.com/company/innovea-energio introduces a solution to these problem by designing a solar powered learning hub ready to be scaled in community schools where pupils can find respite from their woes.

The Hub itself is a standalone mini-grid systems modelled to harness the abundantly free solar energy resource in Africa in order to promote learning and community development. A PPP approach to finding lasting solutions to outages in community schools in Africa. Looking forward to deploying the first hub in riverine community in Ondo State Nigeria. Seeking collaboration to scale this and make it a worthwhile solution to end the social disconnect between vulnerable community groups by promoting Clean Energy for social good. This is a Development from the Energy Transfer Hub for Efficiency and Renewables (ETHER) under The auspices of Innovea Development Foundation and another use case for humanitarian energy. Thus, a social nudge for achieving impact in other sectors through sdg7 for an inclusive energy transition. This prospects are more likely to be adopted for Asia Pacific and Sub Saharan Africa

Samuel Adunreke

Helen Watts Education exchange programs could help in maximizing and transfer knowledge from developed nations to less developed counterparts. This could be achieved through partnerships between Academia, Research Institutions and Research funding agencies and non profits. University exchange are most likely the win win game changers to broaden the scopes of learning and institutional mechanism for advancement are often funded by UNESCO and UNITAR. 

Bridging the knowledge gap simply means learning what has been learnt without practical or pragmatic approach to translating knowledge into action. Here is where innovations comes in play. Thankfully more institutions and The Academia are looking towards these corridor. We know a few of them but the challenges comes handy when research needs or criteria differ from the actual needs where those researched needs to be deployed by the students whenever they return from their exchange programs. Another challenge is funding for such research. 

Han Chen Moderator

Hi Samuel, thank you for your sharing!

Would it be possible for you to share a few more cases on innovative education that you mentioned? It would be much appreciated if we can learn more from related case studies. 

Samuel Adunreke

These research can now be localized through collaboration with local institutions. 

More on local manufacturing. The economies of scale in deploying and establishing modular installation plants for solar PVS most especially has become an herculean task. Hence the need for OECD nations to cooperate more towards recycling and maintenance facilities in regional and local markets. Calling for a policy baked approach to incentivizing and setting investors in such areas on a tax regiment so as to achieve this through waivers for infrastructure targeted at renewable resources. Another approach is the carbon pricing leadership, which can be promoted through the WTO and the WB Climate

Han Chen Moderator

Thank you Samuel for your comments! I really appreciate the fact that you are linking different approaches to the possible bodies to conduct them. Of course, I believe there are not only the organizations you mention here, but they can be good examples or the leaders in these practices. Other than international organizations I think that private sector can sometimes also be included in making the solutions sustainable.


Renewable energy should be the order of the for the world to achieve  SUSTAINABILITY . New technology and innovative ideas should explored to make sure SDG7 goal is achieved,for life to be good for everyone Sustainable energy is paramount. 

As someone in the construction industry, efficient and green homes are highly linked to efficient and Sustainable energy in other to have zero gas emissions and zero waste and carbon footprints.

Han Chen Moderator

Hello IYUMAME ALVAN NWUCHE, thank you for your comment. Yes, I absolutely agree with you that greening architectures can be a crucial step in terms of reaching carbon neutrality in the future since a large amount of energy is being consumed by households and commercial buildings. Innovation and technology will be critical for buildings to be more energy-efficient and shave peak loads.

Han Chen Moderator


Pratham Maheshwari

I believe innovative technology should be built considering the widest applicability and feasibility. Both of these components are necessary for the framework to be globally efficient. Resources shall always be limited because they always enough for everyone's need and never for anyone's greed. Hence, the mobilization of resources in channelizing in the provision of clean energy through innovative technology should be one of the primary aims.

Han Chen Moderator

Hello Pratham, thank you for your valuable thoughts! I agree with you that innovative technologies should be designed in an inclusive way with practical implementation. It can be however very tricky sometimes to evaluate the priority and urgency of need, and inform policy makers of that. Do you have some thoughts in that? It might be helpful if we can discuss these further in specific contexts.


Innovation and Technology are very important in the energy sector. More support and help must be given to persons or organizations who will help in inventing new ideas and inventions so as to forster the goals of the SDG7 . There must be a favourable ground for all parties involved in energy sector who really want to invent and create technologies that will take the energy sector to a greater height.

   Those with innovative ideas must be encouraged and those carrying thoughts of research must also be supported.

 And there should be proper data management in the energy sector.

Oriana Petitjean

Hello everyone!

My name is Oriana Petitjean and I am from Venezuela. Currently, 42% of the Venezuelan population has daily energy breakdowns and that is why its stable access is a really important topic over here. 

Five months ago I enrolled in an international innovation competiton with some friends with the idea to help cover our country needs, and we developed a disruptive and cheap idea: to generate electricity from plants. This could sound crazy but we did research and experiments and it is actually feasible. Now we are planning to develop our prototype and take it to the market so we can tackle the Venezuelan need and latter on, we would like to take it overseas. 

I consider that there should be many ideas like this worldwide, and I think that in order to boost innovation on the matter it is important that we have more spaces and competitions to promote the creation of new alternatives; maybe in alliance with schools or universities to make this challenges a mandatory class for innovation. Also, I consider that it is important to create and promote investment mechanisms so that youth can take their ideas into concrete actions!

Caroline Tresise Moderator

Hi Oriana I see you are already in this Discussion Room, great! It would be really interesting to hear more details about your project and the technology it is using. Could you please share more information with us?

Ashlin Naidoo

Hi Everyone


I am Ashlin, currently work for the City of Cape town municipality, South Africa under Energy and Change Change. 

  1. In South Africa the innovation and technology is well established. The private and public sector need to take advantage of these opportunities. Policy and regulation should be set to choose least cost technologies over a long time frame.


  1. Jevons paradox always comes to mind. The introduction of new technologies means better efficiency and less spend on energy. However, this extra money gained by consumers will go to other sectors of the economy such as cars, clothing, electronics etc. thus a total overhaul of the linear economy into a circular one is definitely needed. Designing waste out and the private sector willing transitioning their business to cleaner practices, voluntarily, as well as holding government accountable to their own policies (Eskom in the South African case).



  1. In a South African context, the need for higher taxes on Electric vehicles needs to be turned into incentives to buying these vehicles. Also, a manufacturing needs to shift from ICE components to electric powertrain components. Skills in developing fuel Cells both electric and hydrogen based are definitely lacking.


  1. The same old cry for more jobs, service delivery and basic human rights is one of great importance as there has been a failure to achieve this. The threat of Climate Change changes our ability to achieve these goals for people, as was done in the past. The Just transition needs to be seen as a mechanism to achieve the most basic of needs for people. It is hard for people to think about Climate Change when they have more “immediate” needs yet pushing the government towards a Just transition immediately may be the only sensible decision, as our time is running out.
Sumaiya Binte Ferdous Moderator

Thank you so much Ashlin Naidoo, for your insightful thought. I think all the areas that you have pointed out are extremely and equally important. I totally agree with the thought that people with more 'immediate' needs  hardly think about the consequences of Climate Change. I loved how you presented your insights in your country's context. 

Ashlin Naidoo
  1. Social innovation engages the people, thus building and changing their habits. I think technologies that change our energy culture and intrinsically promote energy behavioural changes will do more than just reducing emissions. I see to many people in SA who have no understanding of what each of their actions has on the future generations.


  1. Scaling renewable energy makes us vulnerable due to the lack of dispatch-ability. Storage will allow more security but also large industry such as smelters to use this energy.


  1. The red tape is the biggest barrier in many Cities around SA. Innovative projects are not always possible due to outdated procurement and finance mechanisms.


Data (credible energy balances) and energy modelling on 100% RE scenarios are key to galvanising these concepts to our politicians. Conventional power has done a great job in delivering to the needs of is people through job creation and energy supply. We need to show RE can do the same.

Caroline Tresise Moderator

This consultation will close shortly. Your moderators will post their summaries in the next few days.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the participants for your excellent and thoughtful inputs and to encourage you to remain engaged in this group. We will leave the Networking Lounge and the News Room open so please keep posting and stay tuned for "the next steps" and new opportunities from UNDP.

We look forward to continue working with you!

Caroline Baxter Tresise
Facilitator, Community of Practice on Energy, UNDP


Thank you Caroline. It was a thoughtful consultation work. Thank you to everyone

Sumaiya Binte Ferdous Moderator

Thank you every for your insightful contributions. It was really a constructive and thought-provoking consultation. I learned a lot. Hope we will stay connected.

Stay safe and take care.