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On Friday 26 June, Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) stakeholders discussed the main issues raised in the energy sector during the COVID-19 crisis, from its immediate impact to the long-term economic and societal implications.
All speakers stressed the need to invest more in research and innovation to develop and bring to the market clean energy technologies while at the same time ensuring that the European industry remains competitive. Funding for clean energy technologies should be a key part of the Next Generation EU package.
Thomas Pellerin-Carlin, Director of the Jacques Delors Energy Center, highlighted that the public sector has a critical role in funding R&I and shaping markets. The EU has the opportunity to set a clear direction for public and private R&I to reach climate-neutrality by 2050.
Aliki Georgakaki, Scientific Officer at the European Commission Joint Research Centre, showed how recovery efforts can be an opportunity to accelerate clean energy innovation and reach energy and climate targets, while supporting the recovery of the renewable energy industry and maintaining EU leadership in clean energy technologies.
The SET Plan governmental representatives highlighted clean energy R&I actions and priorities to support the green recovery in line with upcoming EU strategies. The panel composed by five different Implementation Working Groups (Concentrated Solar Power, Photovoltaics, Energy Efficiency in buildings, Ocean energy and Positive Energy Districts) presented their respective contributions to the recovery at national and European level. The lively discussion found that sustained and frontloaded public investments in clean energy are crucial to unlock private investments in clean energy technologies and value chains. At the same time, the debate showed the need to support R&I for both emerging and mature technologies in the path towards the decarbonisation of the EU energy system. The SET Plan initiative is instrumental in supporting Member States, industry and the research community to cooperate and better align their R&I priorities and funding to achieve the Green Deal objectives. Its representatives are committed to achieving decarbonisation and circularity and improving competitiveness in a clean, safe, sustainable and affordable way.
The Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) is the technology pillar of the EU’s energy and climate policy since it was established in 2007. It supports the coordination of national R&I activities in the field of low carbon energy amongst EU Member States and four associated countries (Norway, Iceland, Turkey and Switzerland) in the transformation of their energy systems towards the EU's objectives. It works in close collaboration with European research organisations and industry. The Strategic Energy Technology Information System (SETIS) supports its implementation and reports on its progress and achievements through an effective integrated monitoring and reporting scheme.
A new impulse was given to the SET Plan in 2015 by focusing on ten actions to meet the R&I priorities of the Energy Union to accelerate the energy system transformation. In 2016, ambitious targets have been set for each of these ten actions through a widely participatory process involving national governments, industry and research actors. This was followed in 2017 and 2018 by the development and adoption of 14 Implementation Plans (IPs) detailing the R&I priorities needed to achieve these targets.