Strategic Energy Technologies Information System


The present report aims to provide a roughestimate of the current corporate and public research and development (R&D)investments in low-carbon energy technologies in the EU-27. Its ultimateobjective is to offer a benchmark of their current R&D spending to serve asa basis for the comparison with the future R&D investments that will be needed for addressingthe key technology challenges identified by the StrategicEnergy Technology Plan (SET-Plan).

The report has been prepared by the Institutefor Prospective Technological Studies of the European Commission JRC as part of the regular mapping ofenergy research capacities that is being undertaken within SETIS. It has been used as an input to the forthcoming Communication onFinancing Low Carbon Technologies. This communication is foreseen as part ofthe implementation of the SET-Plan (European Commission, 2007a; EuropeanCouncil, 2008). It will address options for meeting the financing needs oflow-carbon technologies. As a starting point, it will thus need to identify thepotential gap between present R&D investments and the investments requiredfor achieving the SET-Plan targets.

This report assesses the current R&D spendingin the EU-27 allocated towards low-carbon energy technologies. The technologiesconsidered include those for which the SET-Plan proposes to launch EuropeanIndustrial Initiatives, i.e. wind; solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentratingsolar power (CSP); carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS); smart grids; (2ndgeneration) transport biofuels; nuclear fission (with a focus on generation IVreactors). Two additional technologies, for which joint activities already existedand which are mentioned in the SET-Plan, are also assessed: hydrogen and fuel cells,and nuclear fusion. For simplification, this group of technologies will becalled 'SET-Plan priority technologies' in the following, sometimes groupedinto nuclear and non-nuclear technologies due to the distinct researchstructure between the two.

For the technologies listed above, data onR&D spending by industry, the public sector and from EU funds have beengathered.1 However, dataon corporate R&D investment are scarce. The data situation becomes even worsewhen looking into R&D spending at the level of the aforementioned technologicalfields. Various data sources and approaches have therefore been tested andcombined where feasible. The methodology developed for obtaining estimates ofthe corporate R&D is described in detail in chapter 2 of this report. It iscomplemented by a description of the data sources used with regard to publicnational R&D funding, i.e. the GBAORD from Eurostat and the RD&D statisticsof the International Energy Agency. For an overview of the EU funding, the 6thResearch Framework Programme and the EURATOM Framework Programme have been assessed.

The results of this approach are presentedand discussed in chapter 3, both for aggregates and for individual SET-Planpriority technologies. To the extent possible, a breakdown by Member States isshown for public funds. Moreover, investments are grouped according to thesource of funds and compared to other studies where available. The chapter endswith an analysis of the uncertainties.

Chapter four draws the main policy-relevantfindings from the present data assessment. However, given the lack of data andthe problems with compatibility across different data sources, the results ofthis report must not be regarded as exhaustive and comprehensive.


1Note that in some cases the allocation of research investment to either industry or the public sector is not straightforward. For example, in Denmark the electric utilities finance (via an add-on to the electricity bill) a research programme that is publicly controlled (SRS project, 2007). Also, part of companies' R&D expenditures may be (co-)financed with public money. The way in which this is tackled in the present report is described in the methodological part