Category: Events-reports

The Bridge Tank Report – Renewable Energy auctions in Kazakhstan in light of Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, India and Germany

In the context of our accelerating and transforming economic and energy systems, renewable energy auction systems have contributed in some manner to stimulating the renewables sector over the past decades. This is mainly due to the lower costs of new technologies, useful for emerging countries lacking investment resources, but also to the political implementation of this auction mechanism by becoming a model instrument for clean energy.

To understand renewable energy auction systems and mechanisms, we conducted an analysis to lay elements of designing a methodology support of conducting renewable energy auctions in the scope of country experiences (Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, India and Germany) in order to identity the more or less effective auction system and sort the mechanisms and processes that could be replicated in other countries, contributing to the acceleration of the renewable energy market. Based on the results, we then drew up a methodology to support auction developments, particularly useful in developing countries. To ensure its relevance, we tested it on the case of Kazakhstan.

Read here our report (English): Renewable energy auction_report_221121

The Bridge Tank and the French Development Agency launched a joint seminar series on blue economy in the Bay of Bengal (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka)

The Bridge Tank and AFD are co-hosting three workshops to understand the way in which Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka organize their blue economy strategies, adapt to the physical impacts of climate change of the fishery resource and to identify the priorities, the opportunities and the needs for action. Along with the research and operational departments of the French Development Agency (AFD), we engage with marine, coastal and fisheries resource management bodies and influential national or regional think tanks.

On November 26th 2021, the online inaugural workshop gathered strategic thinking of the participants ahead of developing a growing interaction between them and institutes and policy makers in the following workshops, planned for January and February 2022.

This first workshop aimed at earmarking new blue economy priorities for various actors and nations in the Bay of Bengal, bringing shared understandings and diagnostics, identifying opportunities and needs in socio-economic projects. It aimed to identify the regional context and issues related to the blue economy, in particular the improvement of living standards of coastal communities and resource users through sustainable management of fisheries and integrated coastal management to adapt to climate change, through two panels.

This virtual event brought together 12 speakers from 10 key organizations working on the blue economy in the region, gathering over 100 attendees.

Two panels shared speakers’ understanding of the different local issues related to the value chain of fisheries resources.

  • Panel 1: “Resilient coastal ecosystems as a crucial prerequisite for sustainable economic value chains?”

Speakers:

Dr. Arnab Das, Director, Maritime Research Centre, India

Dr Srinivas Kumar, Director, Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)

Ms Hasamini Sweenie Thilakarathne, Project coordinator and international affairs officer, Marine Environment Conservation Society of Sri Lanka (MECS), Sri Lanka Dr Chime Youdon & Dr Saurabh Thakur, Associate Fellows, National Maritime Foundation

Mr. Mashiur Rahaman, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock

  • Panel 2: “Sustainable fisheries and enhanced livelihood: actions on fisheries for food security, job access and climate change adaptation in the region”

Speakers:

Mrs Afifat Khanam Ritika, Research Officer, Bangladesh Institute of Maritime Research and Development (BIMRAD)

Mr Md. Abdul Wahab, EcoFish Team Leader, WorldFish, Bangladesh Wing

Mrs Runa Khan, Founder & Executive Director, Friendship NGO

Dr M.F.M. Fairoz, Dean, Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences, Ocean University of Sri Lanka

Dr. Md. Sharif Uddin, Department of Fisheries, Bangladesh

To watch the workshop online, click here: Panel 1 & Panel 2 

To read the minutes report, click here

Special Report – Moving ahead of COP26 & COP15: finance & coalitions for hydrogen & the blue economy

In the context of international negotiations on climate and biodiversity (COP26 and COP15), The Bridge Tank has developed analyses on global priority topics, these international conferences of which are considered as some of the most urgent.

This report aims to contribute to the global and diplomatic discussion on climate change and biodiversity challenges. Through deep academic and scientific review, we designed method, foresight, and recommended solutions, divided into 4 chapters. The first two chapters put forward positions, structuring and global elements on adaptation, finance and governance while forcing action at different scales. The second two chapters develop scientific, industrial and technical theories on operational subjects.

The first chapter addresses the ADAPTATION FINANCE mechanisms with a specific focus on blended finance as an efficient tool to finance emerging economies. Our analyses allow us to identify various tools for scaling up climate action.

The second chapter deals with the innovative approach of COALITION into the climate change negotiations toward bottom up and regional coalition by involving non state-actors.

The third chapter focuses on the place HYDROGEN can take in the energy transition as an upcoming energy vector. It underlines the specific economic and political dynamics that characterize the hydrogen ecosystems and puts forward possible bottlenecks that could impede its effective scale up for industry uses in the coming years.

The last chapter explores the need to work towards a transition to a BLUE ECONOMY in coastal territories worldwide and more specifically in the Indo-Pacific. This chapter highlights the fact that the ocean industrialization needs to be limited and coastal ecosystem and blue economy value chain should be better integrated.

 

Edited by: Malaurie Le Bail and Joël Ruet

Contributors: Baudouin Becker, Clarisse Comte, Florian Dommergues and Malaurie Le Bail

Proofreading and graphic design: Jacqueline Duan

Read here our report: Final report_climate change and biodiversity_TBT_Nov21

“Transatlantic Talks: Reflections for Europe with French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin

On 21 September 2021, The Bridge Tank and the France-Amériques Circle inaugurated the “Transatlantic Talks”. The objective of these meetings is to bring together decision-makers around a personality in a closed format, and aim to feed into proposals ahead of the French Presidency of the European Union.

This first meeting gathered around Jean-Pierre Raffarin some fifteen political personalities, former ministers, parliamentarians, industrialists, senior civil servants and representatives of civil society.

During this meeting following the “Chatham House Rule”, after several ideas launched by Mr Raffarin, the participants exchanged analyses and proposals on the following themes: 

  • EU-China-US relations and their growing role in various domestic policies
  • Internal relations within the European Union
  • The issue of European strategic autonomy, including data autonomy
  • Multilateral cooperation and cooperation with Germany in Africa and democratisation in Africa
  • The question of a European defence and its financing
  • Energy and environmental issues in the face of ecological destruction
  • The modernisation of democracies
  • The risks of European deconstruction and solutions

The Bridge Tank and the France-Amériques Circle plan to organise a next session of the “Transatlantic Talks” around a new political figure.  

The Bridge Tank co-organises the conference “Central Asia: between Russian and Chinese covetousness, what place for the European Union? “

On 17 September, a conference on Central Asia “Between Russian and Chinese covetousness, what place for the European Union?” was held at Sciences Po Strasbourg with the support of The Bridge Tank, the Think Tank Paris-Berlin-Moscow, Sciences Po Forum and the Alumni Association of Sciences Po Strasbourg. The aim of this conference was to discuss Central Asia and more specifically to study the Russian, Chinese and European influences in the five Central Asian countries of the former USSR: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, thanks to the expertise and experience of practitioners of international relations and the region.

Among the speakers were Mrs Sylvie Bermann, former French Ambassador to China and Russia and President of the IHEDN Board of Directors, Mr Gilles Rémy, Director of the CIFAL Group, Mr Thierry Kellner, Professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and China specialist, Mr Michaël Levystone, Researcher at the Russia/NEI Centre of IFRI and Mrs Malaurie Le Bail from The Bridge Tank.

This event brought together around 150 people: Mr Ivan Soltanovsky, Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, Mr Anuarbek Akhmetov, Consul General of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Strasbourg, Mr François Loos, Former French Minister, Mr Pierre Andrieu, Former French Ambassador, various experts who have worked in the region and many students.

The Bridge Tank, co-organiser of the event, was represented by analyst Malaurie Le Bail. She deciphered the climate and environmental situation of the region through a scientific reading of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (IDNC) of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan a few weeks before the COP26. According to Malaurie Le Bail, many analyses, both in academic and institutional literature and in the media, highlight Kazakhstan’s climate leadership in the region. However, when comparing the INDC of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, their greenhouse gas reduction targets are almost identical. Her presentation put Kazakhstan’s leadership into perspective and highlighted the way in which the climate ambitions of states should be studied according to the notion of “differentiated common responsibilities”. Malaurie Le Bail suggested two recommendations:

  • The development of a tool to measure the degree of ambition of a State and to compare the climate ambitions of States with different and/or equal contexts.
  • The importance of creating a Central Asian climate coalition during the climate negotiations to fight against common environmental problems, such as the lack of water irrigation or desertification.

Finally, Malaurie Le Bail concluded her intervention by presenting a vision of The Bridge Tank on new Silk Roads (BRI – Belt and Road Initiative). The BRI is a Chinese-Chinese solution to a Chinese-Chinese problem and responds to low domestic market demand and high exports of goods, which caused the accumulation of Chinese currency in the years 2000-2010. The BRIs are therefore not an initiative to promote investment but to develop Chinese loans abroad that generate trans-border economic activity. The idea for China, especially for Chinese companies, is to create infrastructure and activities abroad financed by debt to rebalance the domestic economic situation and to develop infrastructure in the western provinces of the country. The Bridge Tank argues for a reading of the BRIs from within China, rather than from simply a regional and global influence perspective. From a Central Asian perspective, the BRIs allow these countries to benefit from the infrastructure and technologies developed and used in this project, but also to integrate a global market and to be at the heart of a strong geopolitical system.

Sustainable Energy transition trajectories in large countries

By Baudouin Becker, Antoine Goutaland, Xieshu Wang,  Joël Ruet, Laure Elise Wargnier and Malaurie Le Bail.

The ecological emergency has caused a sharp pressure on policy makers to concentrate their efforts on elaborating public policies to organize the passage from the existing fossil fuels based system, that is unsustainable, to another system, whose contours are unknown in details for the time being, but whose ambition is to be durable. Unlike previous energy transitions that were achieved through industrial investments, the decarbonization of national economies is directly led and orchestrated by public authorities through incentives, constraints and policies. The presented documents are methodologies that aim at assessing the ability of governments to coordinate key actors and systems in order to achieve their climate goals and to identify the structural characteristics of the countries’ ecosystems.

 These studies identify trajectories, that we define as the coordination of variables that allow a system to remain balanced while being in motion. A systemic understanding of these trajectories is proposed, including both major responses of public policies to climate issues and the possible integration of the new technologies within the existing system, including an analysis of industrial systems and their capacity (or disability) to meet these challenges.

 In order to understand energy transitions across sectors, we have developed a detailed and replicable methodology that fully integrates the role and potential impact of actors (political and industrial). This has enabled us to understand energy transitions in an original way, freeing us from siloed macroeconomic studies and overly specific energy studies that do not allow us to understand the energy stakes as a whole.

In the following documents, you will find this methodology applied to over 20 economies.

The full report : Energy trajectories in main markets

Specific focus : Energy trajectories in main markets

The making of Hydrogen – Definition and acceleration of a sector

By Joël Ruet, Baudouin Becker, Antoine Goutaland and Xieshu Wang.

Hydrogen is a subject in trend and announcements of breakthrough hydrogen technologies have been multiplying in the last couple months. Indeed, it seems hydrogen, as an energy vector similar to electricity, has imposed itself in most government’s eyes as an indispensable tool in order to transition to climate neutral economies by the end of 2050. Indeed, a number of executive bodies have published hydrogen national strategies in the last 15 months, among which notably the EU, the US, France, the Uk, Germany, and many others (even if mostly Europeans so far).  

            Hydrogen is not a new molecule and has been known and used for decades. Currently, it is mostly utilized as an industrial composite for the production of ammonia, of steel or for refining oil. However, in the context of the energy transition, it is mostly considered useful as an energy vector that would complement electricity. Indeed, in hard-to-abate sectors, meaning sectors where electricity isn’t a solution or an unsatisfactory one, hydrogen appears as a viable replacement to fossil fuels, for example in long-distance transport or shipping where oil is hard to substitute.  

These two documents provide an overview of hydrogen developments and increasing importance in the energy transition as well as a prospective analysis of its prospects of evolution towards 2030. It notably identifies an unexpectedly faster pace of development of the molecule. Country that are mostly likely or unlikely to decarbonize their current hydrogen production are also identified. Finally, the documents provide a specific lens on hydrogen use for mobility and on hydrogen ecosystems.

 

Main report : Main Report – The making of Hydrogen – Definition and acceleration of a sector over 2017-2021

Executive summary : Executive Summary – The making of Hydrogen – Definition and acceleration of a sector over 2017-2021

The current state of the hydrogen ecosystems in the world

By Florian Dommergues and Joël Ruet

Retrospectively, 2021 might well prove to be the breakthrough year for the ecological transition towards climate neutral societies. With the election of Joe Biden, who reinstated the United States in the Paris Agreement hours after coming into office, the ecological transition has gained new momentum.
By the end of 2020, more than 110 countries had pledged to reach climate neutrality by the mid-century, including China by 2060. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has induced an important economic crisis which in response has required the launch of large-scale recovery plans by OECD countries, such as Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue plan, France’s €100 billion recovery plan (of which €30 billion are dedicated to the ecological transition), or the EU’s €1800 billion plan, of which one third is dedicated to the European Green Deal to reach climate neutrality. These plans have been seen as a chance to accelerate further the ecological transition and to invest in the technologies and energies of tomorrow.

In this context, one energy in particular gained particular drive and importance : hydrogen (H2). The aim of this policy brief is therefore to provide an overarching view of the current state of affairs of the hydrogen ecosystem and a review of the existing literature.

We argue that three trends required special attention and allow to have a structured analysis of the field.
First, hydrogen must be approached around the industrial problematics that compose the ecosystems that are emerging around the molecule. One of the decisive dynamic being the interaction between industrial players (both new upcoming players and old industrial fossil fuel players, such as gas utilities) and government public policies which will shape the regulatory environment.
Second, hydrogen in the years to come, will most probably become an object of trade between countries with abundant RES and those with scarcer ones in the years to come. If we analyse these dynamics that notably take the form of bilateral partnerships between states, we argue that for a long time to come hydrogen exports will not take the magnitude nor the forms of standardized transactions, such as oil or natural gas. Indeed, hydrogen cannot be understood as a uniformed commodity, as we stated in a previous policy brief (in french).
Third, the place of green hydrogen in the energy transition must be considered lucidly, what we call a « philosophy of transition ». Hydrogen, if an essential tool of the energy transition, will remain second whenever electrification is possible. It must be considered first and foremost in order to decarbonize industrial uses of hydrogen, then in hard-to-abate sectors and finally as a tool for system integration (providing grid stability and allowing sector coupling).

You can find the full brief here : The current state of play of the hydrogen ecosystems in the world

China’s policy on strategic materials – impact on the batteries ecosystem and industry recommendations

By Xieshu Wang and Joël Ruet.

Strategic materials, such as rare earth, lithium, cobalt or nickel, are indispensable inputs for green transition technologies such as wind turbines or batteries for electric vehicles. With more and more governments aiming to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and as the necessity to transition to sustainable economies is becoming more and more pressing, primary materials’ demand will rise and they are therefore considered critical inputs, or strategic materials. It is expected that consumptions of strategic metals will increase from 7 to 19 billion tons per year, inducing serious tensions on the supply side. Cobalt is one of these metals used as an input in the magnets of wind turbines, and for the production of the cathodes of lithium-ion and nickel metal hybride batteries.

As China quickly understood the importance of the metal for future strategic technologies, it positioned itself early on the cobalt value chain and has therefore been able to control a significant part of the chain, mostly by controlling a large portion of the DRC’s cobalt ressources.

This document provides an analysis of China’s materials strategy, the way it has managed to gain a privileged position on the value chain,  as well as an analysis of the key private actors that are major players on the cobalt value chain.

Industry recommendations : Industry Recommendations – China’s key materials strategy

Analytical report : Analytical Report – China’s key materials strategy

Policy Brief – Hydrogen, a new commodity, a ‘magic’ energy carrier, or a prescriber of demanding public policies?

By Antoine Goutaland and Joël Ruet

“Hydrogen” is seeing its industrial and energy uses differ while its synthesis processes abound. But in reality, there are hydrogens whose promoters constitute a heterogeneous club with more or less convergent interests, present at different geographical, sectoral and temporal levels. A unified and stabilised ecosystem does not exist at this stage, and due to the characteristics of the molecule, we defend that this unique and global ecosystem will not be emerge.

Green hydrogen remains a decisive tool for the energy transition. It has the capacity to better store, use, and valorise renewables, and, more generally, offers an additional flexibility option to the great energy systemic overhaul necessary for the ecological transition.

At present, the World Hydrogen Council has an interest in showing a united front to policy makers, in order to broaden the base of what has not, so far, really been a “sector”. But behind this homogeneous ‘narrative’, industrial and political battles are being fought.

Hydrogen will contribute to the slow change in perspective of ecology: in parallel with the systemic question of transitions and trajectories, there will be a return, not of the micro-economic question (price formation on markets), but rather of the macro-economic policy of natural resources, an all-encompassing problem, going from a national accounting of resources to a geostrategy of resources.

Read the Full Brief (in French): 2021-07-07-PB_Hydrogene

 

Key points

  • Hydrogen is not a commodity and will probably not become one. However, this by-product can play a key role in the decarbonization of certain heavy industries or energy uses.
  • Hydrogen is not oil, therefore the previous economic model of this sector is not necessarily adapted to hydrogen. It is consequently necessary to question the assumptions and cognitive habits acquired, as well as to objectively analyse the accelerators at hand, and in particular the territories, that are determining factors.
  • Hydrogen opens the Pandora’s box of the industrial economy: are forced technological oligopolies coming? Will they overlap or will they transcend geopolitical competition? Will certain coal basins impose themselves by a sort of return of history? Will industrial parks turn demand to their advantage?
  • The electrification of the world, mobilizing hydrogen, and associated with “natural” uses of hydrogen where electrification is not relevant, is compatible with an explosion of energy transformations, alongside a decrease in CO2 emi
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