Energy is the material basis for human survival, playing a crucial role in sustainable human development. From the era of firewood to that of coal, oil and gas, and then that of electrification, every shift in the energy era has brought significant opportunities for development. Entering the 21st century, a new round of energy revolution brought on by solar, wind, hydropower and other clean energy systems has the opportunity to accelerate sustainable development, and is profoundly changing the landscape of the world.

Establishing a clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient energy system is a golden key to promote sustainable human progress. Energy is also a golden link that widely connects the basic elements of sustainable development and profoundly affects the relationship of human-nature, human-human, and human-society.

At present, promoting energy transition and sustainable development is still an arduous task, at least in the following three aspects. First, the world needs to move at a rapid pace and expanded scale to achieve deep decarbonization by mid-century. Renewable energy generation currently accounts for about 30% of the total global power generation. In order to avoid dangerous climate, this share must be doubled by 2030, and reach 90% by 2050. Second, there is an urgent need to accelerate the process of electrification. Electricity is a clean and economic secondary energy source. All primary energy sources can be converted into electricity, and most of the energy consumption can be electricity. The proportion of electric energy in final energy consumption keeps rising, but at present, except for a few countries, the overall global electrification level is still very low, with fossil fuels still accounting for a large proportion of final energy consumption. Third, energy inter-connectivity needs to be strengthened. Cross-border and inter-regional power flow will be instrumental to allow for large-scale development of clean energy in many cases. Moving forward, the importance of the power system in the world energy allocation will become more and more significant, thus there is a great need to build an interconnected power system which is capable of delivering large scale clean power over a massive geographic area.

Innovation is the fundamental driving force to address the above three major challenges. Technology innovation can significantly improve the efficiency of clean energy production, delivery and utilization, and reduce energy costs. Innovation in policy domain is crucial to create a favorable policy environment, attract investment and financing in line with clean energy transition, and at the same time coordinate the relationship between clean and traditional energy to achieve a fair, just and inclusive energy transition.

Countries have been trying to deploy different strategies and tools to advance innovation in energy technology and policy mechanisms, however, gaps exist not only between the status quo and what is needed for one country, but also between countries in different economic development stages.


On the margin of the 8th Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (the STI Forum), the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) will be co-organizing a thematic side-event, focusing on the theme of "Innovation in Technology and Policy Mechanism in Energy and Electricity".

The objective of this side-event will be to address innovation issues in energy and power sectors, well aligned with this edition of the STI Forum. Technology innovation includes clean energy, advanced power transmission, smart grid, energy storage, grid operation control and other technologies, while policy mechanism innovation covers coal power phase-out mechanism, clean energy development incentive policy, power market mechanism, transnational power trading mechanism, etc. By co-organizing this event, we aim to achieve the following outcomes:

  1. Share ideas, initiatives and concrete practices of different regions and countries regarding energy technology, innovation, and identify key areas and directions for future energy technology innovation.
  2. Share good practices and lessons learned of different regions and countries regarding innovation in energy policy mechanisms, and foster dialogues and exchanges in this regard.
  3. Provide global stakeholders with strategies and tools needed to advance innovation in energy technology and policy mechanism, through lessons learned and good practices around the world.

This virtual side-event will bring together speakers from UN agencies, relevant national government authorities, energy and power companies, international organizations, industry associations, think tanks and research institutions.

This virtual event will be open to the global public. Expected participants include national energy policy makers, industry practitioners and other stakeholders, engaged or interested in advancing energy-related SDGs through innovation in technology and policy mechanisms.


Time: 20:30-22:30 Beijing Time (12:30-14:30 GMT, 08:30-10:30 New York Time), May 4, 2023

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