Energy technology experts from around the world gather for Universal Meeting of IEA’s Technology Collaboration Programme

TCP Universal Meeting

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Technology Collaboration Programme (TCP) recently held its biennial Universal Meeting, convening experts from around the world to discuss their work to advance the research, development and commercialisation of energy technologies.   

The fifth Universal Meeting – which was the first to be held in-person in four years – took place on 25-26 October 2023. It gathered representatives from around 30 different Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs), as well as delegates from the IEA’s Committee on Energy Research and Technology (CERT) and its Working Parties (WP).

The focus of the meeting was the future of energy technology collaboration in a fast-changing energy landscape and the role collaboration can play in advancing governments’ net zero ambitions. Discussions also centred on the upcoming IEA 50th Anniversary, which will feature the first edition of the IEA Energy Innovation Forum and also mark 50 years of the IEA’s technology collaboration network.

The Technology Collaboration Programme was initiated at the launch of the Agency. Over the past five decades, it has played an important role in strengthening international energy technology collaboration and bringing valuable knowledge to policy makers around the world, with almost 80 TCPs created over almost half a century. Today, the programme involves 6 000 experts who represent more than 300 public and private organisations from 55 countries.

While the IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives 2020 report and the 2021 Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (NZE) roadmap indicated that almost half of the emissions savings to reach net zero by 2050 would need to come from technologies that were not yet commercially available at the time, the latest IEA analysis shows that the share has now fallen to 35%. International collaboration on research and innovation has been crucial to this progress and will continue to drive further advances in this area.

At the meeting, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol emphasised that the TCP network is an “extremely important source of information and of inspiration,” noting the significance of innovation work and the great potential for TCPs, especially given the need to be nimble in addressing the challenges of the current energy landscape.

IEA Chief Energy Technology Officer Timur Gül, who co-moderated the meeting, discussed ways to strengthen existing collaboration to ensure alignment with governments’ priorities, noting the crucial role of international collaboration to reach net zero emissions for the energy sector by 2050.

Chair of the Committee on Research and Technology (CERT) Amanda Wilson, also a co-moderator, outlined the ongoing process to boost the value of the IEA’s energy technology network.

As part of these efforts, the Universal Meeting presented an opportunity to discuss how CERT and its WPs and TCPs can be better aligned with government priorities and how the network’s overall operational efficiency can be further improved. New forms of collaboration through Co-ordination Groups were examined in a brainstorming session, and several other sessions were dedicated to enhancing communication efforts internally and externally.