IEA supports clean energy innovation challenge in India

The IEA is working with the Clean Energy International Incubation Centre (CEIIC) to support CEIIC’s evaluation of applicants to the Techtonic — Innovations in Clean Energy Challenge.

Techtonic is a new start-up challenge established in India for clean energy innovators. It invites disruptive solutions in clean energy driving climate action and improving the lives and livelihoods of marginal communities deeply affected by the global scourge. It is run by Social Alpha, and is backed by the Government of India via its support for CEIIC and Atal Incubation Centres. It was launched on 15 February 2021 and, as a knowledge partner, the IEA helped to promote the initiative internationally. Applicants from all over the world were eligible to apply, further establishing the initiative as a key contribution of India to supporting international co‑operation on clean energy innovation through Mission Innovation.

Following the receipt of 195 applications from start-ups and would-be entrepreneurs possessing exciting clean energy technologies, 77 enterprises passed the first screening stage, meeting eight criteria: affordability, accessibility, user experience, innovation impact potential, problem-solution fit, scalability, business viability and team strength.

Emerging markets and developing economies currently account for around two-thirds of the world’s carbon emissions, and their share is rising, making adoption of clean energy technologies a critical imperative for achieving global sustainable development goals, according to a new IEA report, Financing Clean Energy Transitions in Emerging and Developing Economies. The IEA projects that annual clean energy investment in these countries will need to increase by more than seven times, to over USD 1 trillion, by 2030 if global net zero emissions are to be reached by 2050. This would represent more than 40% of total global energy investment to 2050.

India possesses a very strong entrepreneurial business acumen, which can provide a foundation for energy innovation ecosystems that attract venture capital funds and other sources of finance. Techtonic, supported by the Government of India, is one of a number of initiatives worldwide in which the public sector is actively nurturing the next generation of energy innovators to power tomorrow’s economy.

As a knowledge partner, the IEA is providing technical input on the needs and opportunities for the technologies represented by the 77 candidate applicants (The IEA has no role in the evaluation of the applicant companies). Co‑ordinated by the IEA’s Amalia Pizarro, this input draws on IEA expertise in across the full range of sectors in the IEA ETP Clean Energy Technology Guide. It includes an assessment of whether the clean energy technologies address likely barriers to scale-up, compatibility with a global net zero emissions future and the potential contribution to energy access. Dr. Pizarro’s contribution to the project was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 952363.

In order to learn more about how to accelerate clean energy innovation, see the IEA Special Report on Clean Energy Innovation, the Clean Energy Transitions in Emerging Economies and Innovation topic pages.


Update 15 June 2021: Announcement of 32 finalists

Update 9 July 2021: Announcement of 17 winners

This article has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union as part of the Clean Energy Transitions in Emerging Economies programme. This article refects the views of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Secretariat, but does not necessarily reflect those of the individual IEA member countries of the European Union (EU). Neither the IEA nor the EU make any representation or warranty express or implied, in respect to the article's contents (including its completeness or accuracy) and shall not be responsible for any use of, or reliance on, the publication.

The Clean Energy Transitions in Emerging Economies programme has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 952363.

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