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Clean Energy 


Together with energy efficiency, clean energy technologies such as solar and wind are central to the fight against climate change. They are available today, getting better and cheaper all the time, and help improve air quality whilst creating new jobs. Photo©UN/Eskinder Debebe

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With the help of the Technology Mechanism, Ecuador is planning to reduce greenhouse gases and boost energy security. The Latin American country has identified that waste-to-energy technologies such as anaerobic digesters, which converts animal waste into biogas, can play a key role in reducing emissions and bringing energy to those most in need.

Identification of this opportunity became concrete when Ecuador undertook a UNFCCC technology needs assessment between 2009-2012, through which the country identified its key technology needs and priorities with regards to climate change. Through the assessment the country also developed action plans for implementing its technology needs. In determining its most needed technologies, Ecuador put emphasis on identifying technologies that had co-benefits for its communities. The country’s aim was to identify technologies that could reduce greenhouse gases, alleviate poverty generate employment and therefore reduce the vulnerability of its most remote communities. As an outcome from the technology needs assessment, Ecuador identified the potential that anaerobic digesters could play in meeting these goals.

The CTCN to the rescue

To translate this priority into reality, Ecuador turned to the implementation arm of the Technology Mechanism: the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). The CTCN provides free technical assistance to developing countries on climate technology issues, supporting them to accelerate the implementation of low-emission and climate-resilient national projects.

In September 2015, Ecuador sent a request to the CTCN for support to prepare an action plan which will help the country to implement the waste-to-energy technology in the national province of Santo Domingo, in the country’s north. Together, the CTCN and Ecuador will work to develop this action plan with the aim of implementing projects and reducing emissions in the near future. Over the long term, Ecuador plans for the technology to be scaled-up and replicated through-out the country, bringing energy to unconnected rural communities. It identified that an additional co-benefit of converting such waste to energy will be less animal runoff into rivers and streams, supporting the regeneration of clean water supplies to the local farmers.

The TEC is supporting countries to identify good planning practices

Ecuador’s request to develop a national roadmap or action plan for implementing waste-to-energy technologies fits with the findings of the Technology Mechanism’s policy arm, the Technology Executive Committee (TEC).

The TEC analyses policy issues and provides recommendations that support country efforts to enhance climate technology development and transfer. In 2013, after a detailed analysis of the value of roadmaps, the TEC noted that roadmaps may improve planning processes and help countries to transform the results of their technology needs assessments into actions. It also noted that sound planning practices, such as roadmaps, are essential for securing funding for climate technology development and transfer projects and ensuring their successful implementation.

In 2015 the TEC undertook work on distributed renewable energy technologies, such as anaerobic digestion, and noted that such technologies deliver electricity services in areas that cannot be supplied by centralized grids. Additionally, they provide co-benefits to all communities, such as enhanced energy security, reduced local air pollution and reduced dependence on imported fossil fuels. It also noted that more assistance and technology improvement may be needed to enable renewable systems to cope with intermittency in a cost-effective manner.

From manure to megawatts, a South African case study

A biogas plant in the South African town of Bronkhorstspruit highlights the potential of Ecuador’s efforts, and demonstrates the opportunity for replicating and scaling-up this low emission technology. Using a technology, the plant converts the waste of tens of thousands of cattle into electricity. Through the work of the Technology Mechanism, Ecuador is planning to have a similar impact at the national level with its waste-to-energy plants in the near future.

Ecuador is not the only developing country to undertake a technology needs assessment, utilizing the CTCN’s services or drawing on the TEC’s work. For a list of countries which have sent requests to the CTCN, click here.

The Technology Mechanism

The Technology Mechanism supports country efforts to accelerate and enhance action on climate change. It helps countries to develop and transfer climate technologies so that they can effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the adverse effects of the changing climate. The Mechanism consists of two complementary bodies that work together to achieve its objective: the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). Find out more information about the Technology Mechanism here.


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