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Rapid renewables deployment in major emerging economies

Basics #

Question What actions and/or policies can encourage rapid renewable energy supply deployment in E7 countries to meet their future demand and lower their carbon intensity?

Contest main page Submit proposals at

Deadline June 15, 2013, at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time

Rules All entrants must agree to the 2012-13 contest rules.

Prizes The contest winners will be invited to present their work at the Crowds and Climate Conference at MIT November 6-7, 2013, and at the event, a $10,000 Grand Prize will be awarded to one of the contest winners

Related contestsElectric power sector

Guidelines from the contest Advisor(s) and Fellow(s) #

Opportunity/challenge #

Over the last 4 years, Germany has met over 100 percent of its incremental electricity needs through renewable energy sources. Today, over 50 percent of Germany's power comes from solar on the sunniest of days without grid instability.

The E7 countries are the seven leading emerging economies: China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Indonesia, and Turkey.

E7 countries now collectively account for more carbon emissions than the the leading industrial countries, or G7 (US, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy, and Canada). Recent economic development in many of the E7 countries has been achieved predominantly through the use of fossil fuels. Composition of new power supply portfolios for E7 countries will need to increasingly include renewable energy for these countries to remain competitive and for their growth to become sustainable.

Furthermore, decarbonization rates have largely stalled or even reversed in some E7 countries, such as China, which has experienced a 0.2% increase in carbon intensity over the 2010-2011 period. The E7 will need to increase their decarbonization rate to meet the pledges they made at the Copenhagen Climate Conference pledges to lower their carbon intensity by 2020.

Despite providing almost 50 percent of new capacity in 2010 and 2011, renewable energy sources (excluding hydroelectric) still make up less than 4 percent of total global power generation capacity. And the E7 countries account for less than 20 percent of the renewables generation capacity:

In addition, growth in renewables in these countries is threatened to decelerate due to the increasingly global export of coal. The recent shale gas boom in the US has caused utilities to shift to gas from dirtier conventional fossil fuels (i.e. coal and oil), but this could lead to more coal exports from the US.

All the G7 countries are expected to experience rapid economic growth in coming decades, and as they grow, their demand for electric power will explode. This creates an opportunity for the E7, like Germany, to supply 100 percent of incremental growth in electricity demand with renewable energy, thereby decreasing their carbon intensity and gradually de-carbonizing their energy generation infrastructure.

To deploy renewable energy rapidly, E7 countries must adopt strong policies and flexible strategies to make renewable energy development more commercially viable and discourage future development of fossil fuel power generation. Moreover, E7 governments coordinately closely coordination with the private sector to determine the proper incentives and regulations to achieve aggressive renewable energy targets and phase-out fossil fuel power generation.

Key issues #

The focus of this contest is on proposals that outline how renewables can be scaled in the E7 countries.

All proposals will have to answer four directly fundamental questions:

  1. Who are the stakeholders involved? i.e. who will implement the proposal and who will be affected?
  2. What proven technologies can be used to minimize "technology risk" in deployment?
  3. How is the plan scalable and replicable? i.e. how can this segment rapidly play its part in the 5.1 percent decrease in carbon intensity that Price Waterhouse Coopers projects is necessary by 2050; exactly what is possible by 2020?
  4. How would this be a good investment for mainstream institutional and retail investors?
    1. Credit counter-party risk
    2. Technology risk
    3. Operations and maintenance risk
    4. Other risks

Strong proposals should consider policies that have and haven't worked in other countries, while focusing on one type of technology and re-configuring them to local realities and politics(i.e. feed-in-tariffs haven't worked in all situations).

For clarity, select one E7 country to focus on.

Judges and Contest-Specific Prizes #

This Contest will be judged by a panel of three judges:

1. Lead Judge & Contest Adviser: Jigar Shah

Mr. Shah is a renowned entrepreneur and visionary committed to leveraging the next economy, or "impact economy," by solving the challenging issues of our time. Currently a Partner with investment firm Inerjys, Jigar is pioneering a new investment model that provides both growth equity and project finance to clean technology companies. Full biography

2. Supporting Judge: David Schwartz

Mr. Schwartz currently is a Senior Associate at the Carbon War Room, which he joined at its inception. The Carbon War Room is an initiative launched by Sir Richard Branson that focuses on finding viable and profitable business opportunities in reducing carbon emissions. David currently leads Carbon War Room's Network Engagement team. In his role, David engages with external stakeholders to incubate roadmaps that accelerate the deployment of clean technology solutions.

3. Supporting Judge: Vy Manthripragada

Ms. Manthripragada currently is a Program manager with KMR Infrastructure, a company engaged in the displacing of diesel generators with distributed renewable energy solutions. Previously she has worked as a Program Officer in the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of State and a Senior Consultant at the US Department of Transportation. She also served as an advisor to a microfinance organization in India, and worked as Manager of Operations at the Advisory Board Company, a Washington D.C.-based healthcare consultancy.

References #