In the lifecycle of technology adoption, there are four key aspects: research, development, demonstration, and deployment. While there is a lot of focus on the beginning of this process, the latter stages are equally important. Scaling up and deploying technologies is especially challenging when the technologies in question are designed to solve problems that don’t have immediate tangible benefits, as is the case with technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Technologies reducing carbon emissions exist, yet the adoption rate of such cleantech and energy efficiency measures has not been rapid enough to cause significant reductions in energy use, especially given the increase in energy demand due to factors like a growing Canadian building stock. Taking the example of heat pumps: Between 1990 and 2017, their proportion of residential sector space heating systems only increased by 4.1%, displacing mostly oil-based heating, despite being a proven, highly efficient technology.
The slow adoption and integration of clean energy technology can be attributed to a variety of factors, including low public awareness and knowledge, low confidence in the technology, or a weak economic case relative to more conventional, carbon-emitting technologies. This challenge aims to look at promising clean and energy efficient solutions and how to facilitate their wide-scale deployment and diffusion.