In 2010, the European Commission published the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), with the explicit objective of make low-carbon technologies affordable and competitive.
This instrument focuses on strengthening industrial participation in energy research and demonstration as a way to boost innovation and accelerate deployment of low-carbon energy technologies. The collective European approach helps to better tackle barriers and share risks.
The SET-Plan includes initiatives in the following research areas:
- Bioenergy – development of biofuels that comply with the EU sustainability criteria (Directive 2009/28/EC of 23 April 2009 on promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources).
- CO2 Capture, Transport and Storage – technologies to be couple with power generation and other energy intensive industries that use fossil fuels, particularly coal and gas.
- European Electricity Grid – to further integrate national networks into a pan-European network and enable the transmission and distribution of electricity from dispersed and concentrated renewable sources (up to 35 % by 2020, and make electricity production completely decarbonised by 2050).
- Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (FCH) – development of hydrogen-supply and fuel-cell technologies for mass market introduction in 2015-2020.
- Sustainable Nuclear Initiative – intended to demonstrate the long-term sustainability of the 4th generation nuclear reactors, based on closed fuel cycles.
- Energy Efficiency – The Smart Cities Initiative – This initiative will support regions and large cities that take pioneering measures in energy efficiency and energy production to progress towards a radical reduction of greenhouse gas emissions even further than established in the EU energy and climate change policy.
- Solar Europe Initiative – focuses on photovoltaics and concentrating solar power technologies to make them more competitive and to facilitate their integration into the electricity grid.
- European Wind Initiative – aims to make wind energy more competitive, to harness the potential of offshore resources and deep waters, and to facilitate grid integration.
Also noteworthy are the creation of the SET-plan Steering Group, with representatives from the EU Member States and where Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey participate as observers, and of the European Energy Research Alliance, founded by leading European research institutes.
The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (Set –Plan) Towards a low carbon future, European Comission, 2010