Source: Marcel Schauer,

Source: Marcel Schauer,

The IEA‘s Energy Technology Network
Organizing energy research internationally

In the IEA all decisions are taken by the member states. The highest level of decision is the Governing Board, which meets regularly to set strategic priorities for the IEA‘s activities.

Strategies and activities for energy research

Committee on Energy Research and Technology (CERT)

In the field of energy technology R&D the most important body is the Committee on Energy Research and Technology (CERT),  in which the IEA‘s energy research strategies are formulated and supervised. The Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit) is represented on this committee, which initiates IEA research activities and directs the work in the Implementing Agreements. Accompanying measures are developed, too.

Expertise and guidance

Experts Group on R&D Priority Setting and Evaluation (EGRD)

The Experts‘ Group acts as an advisory body for the CERT; its job is to develop analytical approaches to setting R&D priorities, to strategies for implementation and to evaluating research programmes. Twice a year workshops are held on a key issue such as energy technology roadmaps; discussions take place with experts, and the proceedings are documented in a comprehensive report.

Tackling energy issues

Working Parties

The various topics are grouped and assigned to four Working  Parties, on Renewable Energy Technologies, Energy End-use Technologies, Fossil Fuels and Fusion Power. The experts both support the work of the topic-related energy technology initiatives (Implementing Agreements) and initiate new activities. They analyse and evaluate the work of the Implementing Agreements, and generate recommendations for CERT. Austria is represented in three of the four Working Parties (the exception is fusion).

The Working Party on Renewable Energy Technologies currently oversees technology initiatives in the fields of bioenergy,  geothermal energy, ocean energy, concentrating solar power, photovoltaics, solar heating and cooling, hydrogen, wind power, and activities to disseminate the new technologies. In the field of Energy End-use Eechnologies 14 technology initiatives are currently being implemented in the areas of buildings, transport, industry and electricity. In so-called Coordination Group Workshops the relevant Implementing Agreements of the Working Party  on Energy End-use Technologies, the Working Party on Renewable Energy Technologies and the IEA Secretariat are lined up side by side and cross-programme issues and strategies worked out. The Working Party on Fossil Fuels currently oversees technology initiatives for multiphase flow science, enhanced oil recovery, clean coal,  fluidized bed conversion and greenhouse gas R&D.

EInvolvement in energy technology initiatives

Implementing Agreements

The principal mechanism for putting IEA research collaboration to work are the “Implementing Agreements”. In these multilateral  energy technology initiatives the countries participating set goals and research priorities. Which Implementing Agreements the member states take part in depends on their various energy technology policy priorities. The legal framework of these agreements also permits non-IEA member states to take part, which considerably enhances the options for collaboration. The activities of a technology initiative can extend from pure research all the way to launching a new technology commercially, e.g. by way of joint performance testing. The term of Implementing Agreements is limited to five years, but can be extended for a further five years. Each government participating in the Implementing Agreement nominates a Contracting Party, i.e. the signatory organization (the state, a ministry or an organization specified by the state). Representatives of private enterprise can participate as sponsors. Each Implementing Agreement is managed by an Executive  Committee (ExCo), in which each Contracting Party is represented by a delegate and an alternate. The chairperson is selected by ballot. The Implementing Agreements are powered by the partner states either contributing services (“task shared”) or paying into a common fund (“cost shared”), in which case services can be outsourced.

Research collaboration in projects

IEA_15_s03_grafik_englTasks & Annexe

Actual R&D activities take place at project level in the Tasks or Annexes. In line with the partner states‘ interests and financing  option they can decide which projects they wish to take part in; this makes great flexibility possible. One partner manages the Task or Annex as Operating Agent. The Implementing Agreements frequently consist of up to ten current Tasks. In Austria bmvit  engages national experts, research institutions and firms, so that these can contribute to the individual projects, and also initiate new Tasks under Austrian lead-management. The insights gained from the projects are constantly passed on to relevant national stakeholders. In Austria these projects are funded by way of the bmvit technology programme “IEA research collaboration”.

The firm of S.O.L.I.D. Gesellschaft für Solarinstallation und Design mbH in Styria has for many years participated in international collaboration within the framework of the IEA technology initiatives.

Foto S.O.L.I.D.
Photo S.O.L.I.D.
„As SME (Small and Medium sized Enterprise), S.O.L.I.D. constructs large solar facilities and runs an inhouse R&D  department. For many years we have been an active partner in IEA research programmes involving Austria, and greatly appreciate the communication with industry and science  in other countries. I myself had the privilege of managing Austrian participation in a project, and regard this experience as a particularly valuable part of my professional career to date, since various joint ventures got off the ground then and got the attention they deserved.“

Sabine Putz,
Head of R&D, S.O.L.I.D. Gesellschaft für Solarinstallation und Design mbH

The firm of Bartenbach GmbH in the Tyrol lead-manages Austria‘s participation in IEA SHC Task 50: Advanced Lighting Solutions for Retrofitting Buildings.

Foto © Die Fotografen
Photo © Die Fotografen
„A large proportion of the existing lighting equipment in buildings is more than 20 years old. Retrofitting with energy-efficient combinations of daylight and artificial lighting can cut end-use consumption of electricity dramatically. The savings take immediate effect and require only modest investment, which generally pays off in a short time. Such measures yield the further benefit that the quality of lighting, and thus quality of life, improve significantly. Within the framework of IEA SHC Task 50 we are generating web-based recommendations and tools for this, with which preliminary rough estimates of the potential savings can be made.“

Wilfried Pohl
Bartenbach GmbH, Director Research


  • Load balancing room in control centre, Salzburg AG; photo: Andreas Hechenberger
    Load balancing room in control centre, Salzburg AG; photo: Andreas Hechenberger