Strategic Energy Technologies Information System

European Initiative on Smart Cities

Frequently Asked Questions

SETIS has developed a common assessment framework that treats each technology objectively on a transparent and agreed basis. This assessment framework is the supporting analytical tool for the Technology maps and will evolve as additional needs arise.

For this purpose, SETIS has developed methodologies:

  • to quantify the effects of the penetration of the different technologies considered in the Technology maps on the EU energy policy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, secure energy supply and foster economic competitiveness
  • to calculate the current and future production costs of electricity and heat from
    state-of-the-art facilities throughout their lifetime.

In addition, SETIS is currently performing a systemic analysis based on the POLES (Prospective Outlook for the Long term Energy System) model to simulate the effect of the SET-Plan in the power sector up to 2030 that will be released in the up-coming 2009 edition of the Technology Maps due by the end of the year.

The main criteria used by SETIS for the selection and development of its tools are the following:

  • capacity to analyse under a common frame a diverse and large technology portfolio,
  • transparency and availability of the models and tools used,
  • recognised scientific robustness and existence of an active community of users in Europe,
  • facilitating the integration of SETIS approaches with Member States

SETIS provides validated up-to-date information and analyses on energy technology innovation through two core activities:

- Capacities mapping: an assessment of the current public and private research and development (R&D) expenditures across the EU-27 in the 9 low-carbon technologies identified by the SET-Plan as priority: wind energy, photovoltaics, concentrating solar power, bioenergy, carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), smart grids, nuclear fission, hydrogen and fuel cells and nuclear fusion. Beyond this, the capacity mapping exercise also reports on policies, programmes and institutional R&D capacities in the energy field.

- Technology mapping: it provides key information and data on the status and prospects of low-carbon technologies with respect to EU policy goals. More
specifically, it addresses: technological state of the art and anticipated developments, market and industry status and potential, barriers, needs and synergies with other sectors. These data underpin the assessment of the effectiveness of the SET-Plan on technology development and deployment, and its impact on carbon dioxide emissions, security of supply and competitiveness.

The technology maps provide essential information used to define the "Technology roadmaps" proposed for the European Industrial Initiatives (EIIs) and prepared by the Commission, building on in-depth dialogue with industry, the Member States (Steering group on strategic energy technologies), the European Parliament, the research community and the financial actors.

A "bubble" graph gives a comprehensive overview of the status and potential of energy technologies in a time span that covers from 2010 to 2050, showing as well
the potential leverage effect of the SET-Plan.

Besides the results of these two activities the following can also be accessed on the SETIS website:

- Energy Cost Calculator: this online tool calculates the foreseen cost of energy production and CO2 emissions (direct and indirect) in 2020 and 2030. It enables
the comparative assessment of technologies for power and heat generation.

- Initiatives and consultations: SETIS provides information about the proposed 7 European Industrial Technology Initiatives, the ongoing low-carbon technology initiatives (fuel cells and hydrogen, fusion) and on the consultations with stakeholders.

The energy cost calculator is a valuable tool to forecast the competitiveness of a given technology within the energy system and its evolution in time. The calculator uses a common methodology for all technologies ensuring that they are compared and treated the same way. The main elements contributing to the cost of production can be easily identified (capital investment, fuel cost, etc.) thus, helping to identify where efforts should be focused.

For instance, in onshore wind farms, the cost of production is expected to decrease from an European average of about 85 €/MWh in 2007 to 70 €/MWh in 2020 due to
decreasing capital expenditure and the improved operation and maintenance expense, which corresponds to the forecast of a rapid development of this technology by 2020.

The "Investing in the Development of Low Carbon Technologies" Communication contains provisions for the periodic evaluation of the SET-Plan actions and activities to ensure that the necessary financial resources area mobilised and most efficiently used.

SETIS will continuously monitor the public and private R&D investments in low-carbon energy technologies and report periodically in the Capacities maps. It will also monitor the impact of the financing and its analysis will be published annually in the Technology Maps.

In addition, there will be regular reviews of the specific technology developments performed under the SET-Plan initiatives – European Industrial Initiatives, European Energy Research Alliance joint programmes etc. –based on agreed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

The current and future production costs of electricity and heat from state-of-the-art facilities throughout their lifetime have been calculated based on the capital costs of each technology, the fixed and variable operating costs, fuel and carbon costs, as well as taking into consideration the financial interest during construction, construction time, the capital recovery factor and the lifetime of each facility. In the case of CCS plants the cost of CO2 transport and storage is also considered.

The current Capacity Maps estimate current public and corporate R&D investments in SET-Plan priority technologies in the EU. The approach used capitalises on existing information to the extent possible and combines this with an assumptionbased methodology to derive at a reasonable estimation of corporate R&D investments by technology.

- Data on public national R&D investments of EU Member States are generally taken from the International Energy Agency's RD&D statistics or the Eurostat GBOARD (Government Budget Outlays or Appropriations of R&D) database, complemented by information which has been directly provided by some Member States. However, it has to be noted that both the GBAORD and the IEA databases miss some entries at the technological level of detail needed, and only 19 of the EU Member States are covered in the IEA RD&D statistics, as the remaining Member States are not IEA members. Data missing for 2007 were filled with data from previous years if available or data taken from official national sources.

- Regarding the EU's public R&D spending, funds within the 6th Research and Euratom Framework Programmes have been taken into consideration. These programmes have been assessed on the basis of individual projects rather than budget lines, thus going beyond projects financed under the 'core' energy budget line 'sustainable energy systems'. An annual average of the commitments has been used for these multiannual programmes (2002-2006).

- As data on corporate R&D investment are sketchy, especially at the level of technological detail required, a novel approach for estimating them has been developed for the present assessment. For each SET-Plan priority technology, the number of key R&D investors has been identified. The overall R&D investments of these companies were mainly derived from their annual reports, largely via the 'EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard'. A company's overall R&D investment has then been allocated to individual technologies based on the combination of publicly available information with expert judgment.

SETIS represents a common tool for information and data exchange on energy technologies and capacities for innovation between the European Commission, Member States, research community, international organisations and other actors in the energy sectors.

The data and analysis of SETIS that are also presented online are based on undisputed and transparent scientific research through methodologies that allow comparison of the energy technologies in the EU 27. What used to be a fragmented patchwork of data (R&D investment, foreseen cost of technologies, market potential, etc...) can now be found online, in a comparable and transparent format, with accompanying information on the methodologies and tools used.

The SETIS community is led by the European Commission, through its Joint Research Centre (JRC). JRC works in close collaboration with other Commission services and the Member States and also with European stakeholders such as the European Technology Platforms, industrial stakeholders, trade associations, the European Energy Research Alliance, the European Industrial initiatives and international organisations as well as the finance community.

The mission of SETIS is to support the European Energy Technology policy (SET-Plan).

In this respect, it has two key objectives:

  • To establish a robust, open-access information system on low-carbon energy technologies and their innovation aspects
  • To develop an integrated approach for information and data exchange on energy technologies and capacities for innovation

The 2007 SET Plan communication "Towards a low carbon future" [COM(2007)723 final] called for "regular and reliable information and data" for effective strategic planning in the field of low-carbon strategic energy technologies. In order to support the definition of energy technology objectives and build consensus around the SETPlan programme an "open-access information and knowledge management system" was to be established. SETIS is the outcome.

SETIS is the online Information System for the European Strategic Energy Technology (SET)-Plan. It provides support for the effective strategic planning, conception and implementation of the European Energy Technology policy. It enables monitoring of the SET-Plan actions and activities, assessment of its impact on policy and the identification of corrective measures if needed.