Source: European Commission
SET Plan Update
The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) aims to transform the way we produce and use energy in the EU, achieving EU leadership in the development of technological solutions to reach the 2020 and 2030 energy and climate goals. The SET Plan, supported by its Strategic Energy Technologies Information System (SETIS), is the key implementing instrument of the European Commission's Energy Union Research and Innovation (R&I) strategy.
Digitalisation of the Energy sector
Digitalising the energy sector is crucial for the EU since it enables energy consumers to be at the centre and contributes to a new design for the energy markets. Digitalisation provides new opportunities for suppliers by optimising their valuable assets, integrating renewable energies from variable and distributed resources, and reducing operational costs; at the same time, it favours consumers by reducing the energy bills for citizens and enterprises, through energy efficiency and the participation in mechanisms of flexible demand. For these reasons, it stands as a pivotal element in the further evolution of smart cities and communities.
Synergies are foreseen between the Energy Union and the Digital Single Market priorities of Juncker's Commission, in order to stimulate joint investments and coherence in regulatory frameworks, common standards and interoperability. Digitalisation of the energy sector can boost the EU competitiveness and innovation and open new global markets for components (ICT, electronics, etc.) and services. Within this shaping framework, Europe can act as a potential market leader and become a role model, conquering new markets and propagating the 'European approach' to standards, products and services. In this context, last February in Brussels, an initiative from Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and technology (DG CNECT) gathered 21 experts from the energy and ICT sectors to discuss about Digitising the energy value chain.
'Digitalising the energy sector is crucial for the EU since it enables energy consumers to be at the centre and contributes to a new design for the energy markets.'
Source: European Commission
The EU strategy on Digitising European Industry aims to financially support research and innovation, for instance via the Horizon 2020 framework programme (H2020). The contribution of the Energy Challenge is matched by a contribution from the ICT part of H2020 within two topics, Interoperable and smart homes and grids and Big data solutions for energy. In addition, the Energy Challenge contributes to the Focus Area Boosting the effectiveness of the Security Union with the topic Cybersecurity in the Electrical Power and Energy System (EPES): an armour against cyber and privacy attacks.
In the context of Commission's strategic approach to industrial policy, during the EU Industry Day in February 2018 stakeholders from various industrial sectors discussed about cross-cutting issues and developed joint visions for the future. Additionally, in March 2018 the European Commission organised the Digitising European Industry Stakeholder Forum 2018 in collaboration with the French Ministry of economy and Finance, offering a coordination framework between the various actions on industry digitalisation at national, regional and EU level.
Cybersecurity is of utmost importance in order to guarantee a safe EU transition to a decarbonised, decentralised and digitalised system. The European Commission is currently reviewing the EU Cyber Security Strategy, while DG CNECT and Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER) are developing a comprehensive strategy on how to reinforce the operation of the Directive on security of network and information systems (NIS Directive) in the energy sector.
Digital economy and skills for the future are two priorities for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In this context, Bulgaria is organising a high-level event in June 2018: the Digital Economy Leadership Summit will take place in Sofia and the plenary session will be chaired by the EU Commissioner for Digital Agenda and Society, Mariya Gabriel.
'Cybersecurity is of utmost importance in order to guarantee a safe EU transition to a decarbonised, decentralised and digitalised system.'
General SET Plan related news and activities from JRC/SETIS
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the SET Plan, in November 2017 the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union held under its auspices the 10th SET Plan Conference , opened by DG ENER’s Director General Dominique Ristori. For this occasion the JRC, DG ENER and the Directorate-General for Research & Innovation (DG RTD) jointly prepared the report The Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan. At the heart of Energy Research & Innovation in Europe and published an article on Decarbonising the European energy system: The SET Plan actions in the industry and transport sectors. These publications showcase the overall progress achieved over the past decade in the transition to a low-carbon, innovative energy future and the SET Plan's key role as the technology pillar of EU's energy and R&I policies.
Two SET Plan Steering Group (SG) meetings took place in Brussels during the first quarter of 2018. The main result of these SG meetings was the endorsement of the Implementation Plans (IPs) on Integrated Energy Systems, Deep Geothermal and Ocean Energy led by the SET Plan countries and Industry partners; another important outcome was the discussion on the latest developments of a forward-looking SET Plan strategy. The latter will allow the SET Plan to adapt to the evolving clean energy policy landscape, through the proactive engagement of a Core Drafting Group which involves interested SET Plan countries and is led by Austria and the Netherlands.
The January SG meeting also included a joint afternoon session between the SET Plan Steering Group and the Technical Working Group on Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs), in order to discuss the input required to prepare the plans (focusing in particular on Regional Co-operation and Competitiveness). The March SG meeting afternoon session hosted The European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) representatives to discuss how their Joint Programmes, the new Reference Group on EU R&D Alignment and the mapping of National funding opportunities can contribute to the execution of the endorsed IPs.
During these SG meetings, the SET Plan SG welcomed the new national representatives appointed to the SET Plan SG, specifically the new representatives from France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, and UK.
'The main result of the SG meetings was the endorsement of the Implementation Plans (IPs) on Integrated Energy Systems, Deep Geothermal and Ocean Energy.'
Finally, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Commission's science and knowledge service, published the following reports that are relevant to the SETIS work:
- a report on Energy R&I financing and patenting trends in the EU, which monitors the progress made by Member States with the level of investment in R&I and trends in patents. These two key indicators were identified in the SET Plan Communication and are consistent with the R&I indicators included in the 3rd State of the Energy Union Report;
- a report on cost development of low carbon energy technologies, which presents internally consistent trajectories of capital investment costs to 2050 for Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage, Wind Energy, Concentrated Solar Power, Solar Photovoltaics, Ocean Energy, Geothermal Energy technologies;
- a report providing an overview of the supply chain of a number of renewable energy technologies addressing wind energy, geothermal energy and ocean energy;
- a review benchmarking IRENA's REmap study on Renewable Energy Prospects for the European Union.
Dominique Ristori – Director-General, DG ENER (right) and Stathis Peteves - HoU, JRC (left) at the 10th anniversary of the SET Plan. Source: European Commission
 Horizon 2020 reflects the policy priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy and addresses major concerns shared by citizens in Europe and elsewhere.
 The Energy Challenge, under H2020, is designed to support the transition to a reliable, sustainable and competitive energy system. It has a budget of €5 931 million to non-nuclear energy research for the period 2014-2020.