The SET Plan was established in 2007 to support the EU’s energy and climate goals and make Europe a global leader in low-carbon energy and energy efficiency technologies. It is linked to the 5th dimension of the Energy Union – research, innovation and competitiveness – which are translated into SET Plan’s 10 key actions.
The SET Plan is made up of the Steering Group, the Bureau of the SET Plan Steering Group and 14 Implementation Working Groups (IWGs).
The Steering Group is the decision-making body of the SET Plan. It consists of representatives of the SET Plan countries – the EU Member States as well as Iceland, Norway and Turkey. The Bureau supports its work with the preparation of internal meetings and discussions.
The SET Plan Information System (SETIS) underpins the operations of the SET Plan by providing the necessary scientific evidence for decision-making. SETIS also monitors and reports progress, and publishes SET Plan outcomes on its dedicated website, ensuring transparency.
The 14 working groups monitor and report progress to SETIS on the SET Plan targets and R&I activities carried out at national and European levels. The activities and targets, published in the working groups’ implementation plans, are identified in cooperation with national governments and stakeholders (industry and research bodies). The implementation plans represent the reference document of the SET Plan in each field and ensure that it is aligned with the key industrial developments.
Membership of the working groups includes representatives from industry, research institutes and non-governmental organisations, as well as national and regional authorities in charge of research, innovation, education, climate action and energy.
The activities of each working group benefit from continued liaison and support from other EU R&I initiatives such as:
- the European Technology and Innovation Platforms (ETIPs), in which industry, research organisations and academia work together on the implementation of the SET Plan priorities along the innovation chain and develop strategic research agendas;
- the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA), which represents the research community and seeks to catalyse European energy research in line with the objectives defined by the SET Plan;
- the various Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs), funded under Horizon 2020, to support the IWGs in communication, dissemination and mutual learning activities;
- the European Research Area Networks (ERA-NETs), one of the main instruments allowing Member States to support the SET Plan with increased funding for transnational research and R&I Framework Programmes. Following the establishment of Horizon Europe, the ERA-NET Cofund and the European Joint Programme (EJP) Cofund under Horizon 2020 are succeeded by the Co-funded European Partnerships.
The Implementation Working Groups are listed in alphabetical order.
In 2019, the European Commission launched the European Technology and Innovation (ETIP) on batteries – Batteries Europe. The platform aims to speed up the establishment of a globally competitive European battery industry, driving the implementation of battery-related R&I actions of the SET Plan and the Strategic Transport Research and Innovation Agenda.
The Strategic Research Agenda (SRA), released in December 2020, identifies both the long-term and short-term R&I needs for battery technology. It addresses several issues across the value chain, including the new and emerging technologies, education, skills, sustainability, and safety. Batteries Europe is currently managing the Batteries Implementation Working Group.
Horizon 2020 Smart Cities Lighthouse cluster
The H2020 Smart Cities Lighthouse cluster brings 18 large-scale smart city projects, involving 115 cities, together with research institutions, industries and small businesses to make our cities smarter and more liveable. They benefited specifically from collaborating with the SET Plan IWG 3.2 on positive energy districts.
SET Plan’s policy relevance in delivering the European Green Deal
The European Green Deal is reshaping the European clean energy R&I agenda. As a result, the IWGs are:
- revising their implementation plans to align current work with the European Green Deal's ambitions
- adapting and reacting to the evolving policy and technology scenarios
- setting new targets
- updating activities
- expanding the scope of their work by including new sectors.