Information, information, information
A trinity of websites that provide information about the latest greenhouse gas
reducing technologies, and display demonstration projects as proof, have been
given a facelift by operating agent, Future Energy Solutions (FES).
IEM talked to Richard Shock, project director at FES, about mitigating greenhouse gas emissions over the world wide web.
Instant access to information about environmental technologies and suppliers
from around the world seems too good to be true. Picture it: click, type in
technology, click click, enter sector, search. Result: technical and other information,
demonstration projects, contact details and discussion groups – a veritable
information goldmine right under your fingertips.
The GREENTIE (Green-house Gas Technology Information Exchange) and CADDET (Centres
for the Analysis and Dissemination of Demonstrated Energy Technologies) programmes
are operated by Future Energy Solutions (FES), part of AEA Technology Environment;
FES was chosen last year for this role from an international tender process.
EETIC operates under the collaborative programme of the International Energy
CADDET comprises two centres, one for Renewable Energy (www.caddet-re.org)
and one for Energy Efficiency (www.caddet-ee.org). Together with GREENTIE (www.greentie.org)
they nobly aim to provide free information on environmental technologies and
their suppliers. The websites have been available for some time but recently
FES has rebuilt them to make them more user-friendly and more useful with new
features such as multi-lingual pages.
But first, some background. The IEA was set up in the early 1970s in response
to the oil supply crisis. One of its first steps was to establish a collaborative
research and development and information programme among its member countries
to reduce dependence on imported oil. All members of the IEA had to be members
of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Under
the collaborative programme, IEA countries pool their resources and share the
results of their work though over 40 Implementing Agreements. Participation
by countries is self-funded and voluntary on an ‘Agreement by Agreement’ basis.
EETIC runs under one of these Agreements – 12 IEA countries and the EC participate.
CADDET – Energy Efficiency, is the oldest of the three programmes, set up in
1988, with CADDET – Renewable Energy (RE) following it in 1993. They exchange,
analyse and disseminate information related to energy efficiency and renewable
Dr Richard Shock, FES project director for all three programmes, explains, “CADDET
is based on a store of demonstration projects relating to energy efficiency
and renewable energy – information which is often available within national
boundaries but rarely outside them. CADDET, however, aims at trans-national
dissemination – if there’s a technology that’s been tested and proven in Australia,
Denmark or Sweden, why shouldn’t potential users in the UK find out about it?
“On the other hand, CADDET can provide a shop window for technologies
demonstrated in the UK. While the information is invaluable to decision-makers
it clearly has wider relevance as countries signed up to the Kyoto Protocol
develop their strategies for meeting their targets, either nationally, or through
the Flexible Mechanisms.”
Information on suitable projects is supplied by National Teams in the participating
countries to the CADDET Centre at FES. “One of our strengths is that we
are an independent organisation providing objective information about new technologies,”
says Shock, “While the websites are acting like a shop window with people
looking at a project, it is about marketing technologies not products.
“The technical and financial performance of each project is tested at
full scale and verified by experts. For example, there’s a new technology that’s
come in from the Australian National Team recently which deals with leaks in
compressed air systems. This project was sent to us and the details forwarded
to FES technical specialists in that field with the expertise to spot invalid
data or unbelievable claims.
“If the project passes this test, then it joins the database known as
the InfoStore. Currently we have about 1,500 energy efficiency demonstration
projects and 500 renewable energy projects on file.”
Mike Landy, FES CADDET project manager says, “CADDET also ensures that
the information is up-to-date. National Teams are encouraged to revise details
or to remove old entries, especially when technologies, which were once the
latest thing being demonstrated, are themselves overtaken by development.”
GREENTIE on the other hand has a different focus. Set up to address an information
vacuum in developing countries, it has at its heart a database of suppliers
of technologies and services that are specifically aimed at reducing greenhouse
gas emissions. In contrast to CADDET, it focuses on organisation’s details,
each company a card entry on a virtual, web-based rollerdeck.
GREENTIE Liaison Offices (GLOs) in participating OECD countries disseminate
information about GREENTIE and encourage organisations in their countries to
submit their details, which are then entered into the directory database. Of
the 6,500 entries, the UK has contributed about 1,200.
Mike Gettings, FES GREENTIE project manager, also promises in the not too distant
future a web page giving guidance to project financing and a facility to act
as a ‘marriage broker’ between suppliers and users of technology.
GREENTIE’s latest coup has been to build on the success of its Regional Partners
by developing a link with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). While
many of the GLOs from developing countries are full of enthusiasm, they often
receive little financial support for their operations, limiting the amount of
activity they can undertake. UNEP is establishing the Sustainable Alternatives
Network (SANet) to foster investment in sustainable solutions and bring local
support to deliver the services and augment the work of the GLOs.
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