The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) aims to transform the way we produce and use energy in the EU with the goal of achieving EU leadership in the development of technological solutions capable of delivering 2020 and 2050 energy and climate targets.
The EU supports Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage through its Framework Programme for Research and Innovation and other mechanisms, and by creating the legislative and policy framework needed for CCUS implementation. The following is a chronological overview of some of the actions taken to promote CCUS in the EU, in addition to a more general look at recent actions in support of the SET-Plan.
Carbon Capture Use and Storage
- In October 2001, Directive 2001/80/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from large combustion plants highlighted the EU’s commitment to a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.
- In October 2003, the European Commission published Directive 2003/87/EC, establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community. This was amended in April 2014 by Regulation No 421/2014, in view of the implementation by 2020 of an international agreement applying a single global market-based measure to international aviation emissions. In July 2015, the Commission presented a legislative proposal to revise emissions trading for the period after 2020 - increasing the pace of emissions cuts and introducing more targeted carbon leakage rules.
- The European Technology Platform for Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants (ZEP) was founded in 2005 as a broad coalition of stakeholders united in their support for CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS) as a key technology for combating climate change. ZEP serves as advisor to the European Commission on the research, demonstration and deployment of CCS.
- The European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) was launched in 2005 as a cornerstone of the European Union's policy to combat climate change and its key tool for reducing industrial greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively. The first - and still by far the biggest - international system for trading greenhouse gas emission allowances, the EU ETS covers more than 11,000 power stations and industrial plants in 31 countries, as well as airlines.
- CO2GeoNet was launched in 2008 under the European Commission's 6th Framework Programme as a Network of Excellence dealing with all aspects of geological storage of CO2. The aim of this network was to promote research integration within the scientific community to help enable the implementation of CO2 geological storage.
- In April 2009 the European Commission published Directive 2009/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the geological storage of carbon dioxide (the "CCS Directive"). This directive established a legal framework for the environmentally safe geological storage of CO2 as a key element of the fight against climate change. The Directive covers all CO2 storage in geological formations in the EU and the entire lifetime of storage sites. It also contains provisions on the capture and transport components of CCS, though these activities are covered mainly by existing EU environmental legislation, such as the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive or the Industrial Emissions Directive, in conjunction with amendments introduced by the CCS Directive.
- The European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR) was established in 2009 to address both Europe's economic crisis and European energy policy objectives. Almost EUR 4 billion were assigned to co-finance EU energy projects that would boost economic recovery, increase the security of energy supply and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Within the general framework of the EEPR, the CCS programme was designed to make a significant contribution to the general objective of European energy policy to deliver secure, competitive and sustainable energy supplies.
- The European Industrial Initiative on CCS was launched in June 2010 to demonstrate the commercial viability of CCS technologies in an economic environment driven by the emissions trading scheme. In particular, the EII aimed to enable the cost-competitive deployment of CCS technologies in coal-fired power plants by 2020-2025 and to further develop the technologies to allow for their subsequent wide-spread use in all carbon-intensive industrial sectors.
- The European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) Carbon Capture and Storage Joint Programme was officially launched at the SET-Plan Conference in Brussels in November 2010. The CCS JP coordinates both national and European R&I programmes to maximise synergies, facilitate knowledge sharing and deliver economies of scale to accelerate the development of CCS.
- In March 2013, the European Commission published a Communication on the Future of Carbon Capture and Storage in Europe (COM/2013/180), which concluded that an urgent policy response to the prime challenge of stimulating investment in CCS demonstration is required, to test whether the subsequent deployment and construction of CO2 infrastructure is feasible.
- The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission (Institute for Energy and Transport) and the Directorate General for Climate Action co-hosted a Workshop on CO2 Reuse Technologies in Brussels in June 2013. The aim of the workshop was to present how the most promising pathways for CO2 re-use are related to climate and energy technology policies, facilitate a dialogue between stakeholders and address the challenges for a possible large scale roll-out of CO2 re-use technologies.
- In January 2014, the European Commission published its Communication ‘For a European Industrial Renaissance’ (COM/2014/14), setting out the Commission’s key industrial policy priorities. The Communication recognises the need to speed up investment in breakthrough technologies and sends a clear signal of Europe’s commitment to reindustrialisation, the modernisation of Europe's industrial base and the promotion of a competitive framework for EU industry.
- In February 2014, the European Commission produced a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the CCS Directive (2009/31/EC) which noted that, as of October 2013, all Member States had notified CCS Directive transposition measures to the Commission and that the majority of Member States had completed transposition of the Directive. The Commission then started to check if the notified measures conformed in substance to the CCS Directive.
- In 2014 a CCS Directive Evaluation study was launched to obtain a comprehensive view of the current state of CCS deployment in Europe and the functioning of the CCS Directive. The project held two stakeholder meetings in Brussels during 2014 to collect inputs to assist in the review of the Directive and published a final report in January 2015 which found that that the overall need for CCS (and European CCS regulation) remains genuine and urgent and, given the lack of practical experience, it would not currently be appropriate, and could be counterproductive, to reopen the Directive for significant changes.
- In February 2015, the European Commission published its Energy Union Package - A Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy (COM/2015/80). This document called for a forward-looking approach to carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture and use (CCU) for the power and industrial sectors. According to the Strategy, this will require an enabling policy framework to increase business and investor clarity, which is needed to further develop these technologies.
- The European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation organised a workshop on ‘Transforming CO2 into value for a rejuvenated European economy’ in March 2015. This event aimed at opening a discussion on CO2 conversion and utilisation, gathering a critical mass of interested stakeholders at all levels, from decision makers to industry delegates and European Commission representatives. The event gave a broad overview of the status of CO2 conversion technologies in Europe, including programmes and projects currently running, and it provided a discussion forum for setting an agenda of shared priorities on the topic at European level, leading potentially to the development of a Europe-wide initiative.
- In its Communication ‘Towards an Integrated Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan: Accelerating the European Energy System Transformation’ (COM/2015/6317), published in September 2015, the European Commission called for increased research and innovation activities on the application of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and the commercial viability of carbon capture and use (CCU). The Communication pointed out that research and innovation should support carbon and energy intensive industries to explore the feasibility of CCS, focusing primarily on sectors with high-purity sources of CO2 to minimise capture costs.
- In September 2015, the EERA Joint Programme for CCS organised an expert meeting on Practical Next Steps to CCS Deployment in Europe. The expert meeting brought together 26 key people from national agencies, the EC (DGs Climate, Energy and Research), industry and their associations, national research and energy agencies and NGOs.
- In its Directive 2015/1513 from September 2015 amending Directive 98/70/EC relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels and amending Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, the European Parliament empowered the Commission to adopt acts with regard to carbon capture and utilisation for transport purposes.
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General SET-Plan related news and activities from JRC/SETIS
- In September 2015, the European Commission adopted its Communication towards an Integrated Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan): Accelerating the European Energy System Transformation (COM/2015/6317). This Communication addresses the role of the SET-Plan in defining the new research and innovation (R&I) approach which will accelerate the transformation of the European energy system and ensure the EU's leadership in the development and deployment of low-carbon energy technologies. It also provides the overall framework for encouraging further cooperation and synergies in R&I between the EU, Member States and stakeholders (research and industry).
- In the context of the process towards the Integrated Roadmap, organisations (universities, research institutes, companies, public institutions and associations) involved in research and innovation activities in the energy field are invited to register in the European energy R&I landscape database, which aims at facilitating partnerships and collaboration across Europe. Registration is open to stakeholders from the EU and H2020 associated countries. Organisations are able to indicate their area of activity according to the energy system challenges and themes, as identified in the SET-Plan process towards an Integrated Roadmap and Action Plan. The database is publicly available on the SETIS website.
- The 8th SET-Plan Conference was held on 21-22 September 2015 at the European Convention Centre Luxembourg, launching the European debate on the new SET-Plan and the next steps to implement its actions. The conference focussed on the Communication addressing the European energy system transformation and the role of the SET-Plan, which was adopted in September. The new Integrated SET-Plan Communication defines the new Energy R&I Strategy for the EU for the coming years and provides a framework for promoting strengthened cooperation in energy R&I between the EU, Member States and stakeholders.
- Two SET-Plan Steering Group meetings were held in September - one on September 9 in Brussels, and the second on September 23, in the aftermath the SET-Plan Conference in Luxembourg. The final Steering Group meeting of 2015 was held in Brussels on December 9.