ICEF Roadmap Workshop was held on April 22, 2023 in New York

The Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF) held its latest ICEF Roadmaps workshop on April 22, 2016. Building onto the success of the first Distributed Solar and Storage Roadmap that was published last year, we organized this workshop to brainstorm ideas for our roadmap-related activities for ICEF 2016 and beyond. Participants discussed how roadmaps should be made and how they should be utilized from the perspectives of government, business and academia.


The workshop was kicked off by opening remarks by Mr. David Sandalow, a member of ICEF Steering Committee. He introduced ICEF’s roadmap project and described the nature of ICEF’s roadmaps being complementary to other existing roadmaps that already exist today. He also announced that two roadmaps, one on carbon utilization technology and another for zero energy buildings are under way for this year.


The first part of the workshop was a series of presentations about roadmaps from the perspectives of international organizations, national governments, and business.

Dr. Colin McCormick, Senior Technical Advisor of ICEF Innovation Roadmap Project, introduced ICEF’s first roadmap on Distributed Solar and Storage. The key concept of this roadmap was that we can distribute rooftop solar and energy storage together. After describing the methodology of the roadmap, he presented different scenarios for mature markets and emerging markets, and identified some of the key factors that affect the future transitions.

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Mr. Simone Landolina, Acting Head of International Partnerships and initiatives of International Energy Agency (IEA), shared the experience of developing IEA Roadmaps. He presented how the IEA has developed their excellent roadmaps and how their process of creating roadmaps has evolved over the years. He also identified the success factors of roadmaps, such as endorsement from public and private sectors, multilateral collaborations, and resources.

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From national government’s perspective, Mr. Hiroki Mitsumata, Deputy Director-General for Environmental Affairs at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan, talked about Japanese policy for innovation to address climate change. He illustrated that the Japanese government’s climate change policy provides a comprehensive vision from national-level policy framework to technology roadmaps. He discussed the hydrogen technology as an example of roadmap. In addition, he touched upon a mechanism to distribute the technology to the world. He stressed the importance of holistic strategy for effective implementation of policies surrounding technology roadmaps and innovation.

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Dr. Ellen Williams, Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), presented how ARPA-E is fuelling disruptive innovation. By choosing high-risk high-return technology that matters with ambitious techno-economic goals in mind, ARPA-E seeks to change the learning curve of innovation, which in the end changes the assumption of the future projection today, for a better prospect of tomorrow.

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From the perspective of business, Mr. Ben Vickers, Senior Editor at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, talked about what businesses expect in technology roadmaps and identified some of the factors that can make a roadmap useful. He emphasized the importance of communication as one of the most important benefits of roadmap, as they drive dialogue. He also stressed that business is looking for numbers, such as prices, and to identify who are the important people in the field. In the end he made suggestions for successful roadmap-related activities.

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Panel discussion

The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. McCormick and with Mr. Landolina and Mr. Vickers, joined by Prof. Reiko Kuroda, Scientific Advisory Board of the UN Secretary-General and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The panel discussed how roadmaps can serve different stakeholders and how they can be useful. Throughout this amazing discussion with the experts, the followings are the key points that were addressed.

  • Every stakeholder expects different things in the roadmaps therefore it cannot be a single roadmap that satisfies everyone. It is also true that a good roadmap must involve many stakeholders as source of inputs.
  • A great benefit of the roadmap is that it gets people talking to each other, as business is looking for things to invest in and a successful commercialization of technology requires scientists, policy-makers, and business to make it happen.
  • A roadmap is most useful as a living document reflecting changing dynamics of the world. Roadmaps are often for certain timeframes, while we do not always see the most important changes coming. This makes it very important to look out for disruptive changes in both technological advancement and the policy environment.

Perhaps the most important takeaway from this discussion is best summarized by the remark towards the end by Mr. Sandalow. He said the process of making roadmap is just as important as substance of the roadmap itself.

This workshop also proved that bringing different expertise together is the best way to have the most productive discussion, which is the very spirit of ICEF. With the lessons learnt in this workshop, ICEF team will develop the new roadmaps for this year and beyond.