Giving Compass' Take:

• Research suggests that small-scale low carbon technologies such as e-bikes and solar panels may be more effective than larger projects to reduce emissions. 

• How can donors help support these smaller tech programs? Are there opportunities in your area to support these initiatives? 

• Read what U.S. cities must do to achieve a clean, electric future. 

Low carbon technologies that are relatively small in scale, more affordable and can be mass deployed are more likely to enable a faster transition to net zero emissions than high cost mega-projects, a new academic study released this week has argued.

The study, published the journal Science, highlights the benefits of prioritizing smaller technologies such as heat pumps, solar panels and electric bikes to drive decarbonization, in comparison to more costly, large-scale solutions such as nuclear power plants and carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects.

While it cautions that smaller-scale green technologies are "not a panacea" as they cannot substitute larger alternatives in all circumstances — such as for long haul flights or industrial processes — the study nevertheless found smaller systems carried lower investment risks as well as greater scope for improvements in both cost and performance.

Smaller scale technologies such as home battery storage, smart thermostats and shared taxi services are also quicker to deploy, while their usually shorter lifespans make them less complex so innovations and improvements can be brought to market more rapidly, the report concluded.

"A rapid proliferation of low-carbon innovations distributed throughout our energy system, cities and homes can help drive faster and fairer progress towards climate targets," explained the study's lead researcher Charlie Wilson from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Moreover, small scale green tech solutions are more widely accessible and help create more jobs, giving governments a strong short term economic rationale for strengthening climate policies, the study contends.

Read the full article about small scale technologies by Michael Holder at GreenBiz.