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.
Various events aimed at advancing technological research, increasing public awareness and promoting low-carbon technologies in the EU and worldwide have been organized since the SET-Plan was presented. The following is a list of relevant communications and on-going activities with implications for the marine energy sector.
- Following a comprehensive consultation and analysis of how Europe relates to the sea, the EU publishes “An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union” (COM(2007) 574) and also establishes a new integrated maritime policy, of which the Communication “A European Strategy for Marine and Maritime Research” (COM (2008) 534) is a fundamental part. The strategy highlights the importance of integration between established marine and maritime research disciplines, in order to reinforce excellence in science and reconcile the growth of sea-based activities with environmental sustainability.
- In response to the downturn in the European economy, the European Council and the European Parliament adopt the Commission’s proposal for a European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR) in July 2009. This €4bn programme will co-finance projects designed to make energy supplies more reliable and help reduce greenhouse emissions, while simultaneously boosting Europe's economic recovery.
- ‘The Ocean of Tomorrow’ is a key initiative in the 7th Framework Programme (FP7), undertaken in order to implement the European Strategy for Marine and Maritime Research. Three joint calls for proposals for research in support of the Good Environmental Status (GES) of our Seas and Oceans (FP7-OCEAN 2010, FP7-OCEAN 2011 and FP7-OCEAN 2013) have been successfully launched.
- The European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) Ocean Energy Joint Programme (JP) is officially launched at the SET-Plan Conference in Warsaw in November, 2011. The JP aims to develop coordinated European ocean energy research that will underpin the development of the emerging ocean energy sector.
- The Intelligent Energy Europe project, Strategic Initiative for Ocean Energy (SI Ocean) is officially started in June 2012. The project is coordinated by the European Ocean Energy Association (EU-OEA) in close cooperation with 6 partners and aims to engage a large number of European stakeholders in identifying practical solutions to removing a range of barriers to large scale wave and tidal energy deployment.
- At a meeting of the Steering Group on Strategic Energy Technologies in Brussels, in July 2012, the Commission informed the Steering Group about the need to prepare implementation plans for the period 2013-2015, in order to review priorities, actions and targets.
- The European Wind Energy association (EWEA) published its final report on the Seanergy 2020 project to deliver offshore electricity to the EU. Funded by the EC’s Intelligent Energy Europe Programme, the project was set up to formulate and promote policy recommendations on how to best address and remove obstacles to offshore renewable energy generation posed by national marine spatial planning considerations. The main policy recommendation of the programme is to draft a Marine Spatial Planning Directive.
- At a meeting of the Steering Group on Strategic Energy Technologies in Brussels, in September, 2012, the Commission presented a new Cohesion Policy and outlined its role in the SET-Plan framework. Within the next financing period, the Cohesion Policy frame places more emphasis on research and innovation, low-carbon energy and energy efficiency measures. In this respect, the Commission invited Member States to ensure a close link between the funds available through the Cohesion Policy, namely the Structural Funds, and the SET-Plan priorities.
- The University of Edinburgh hosts an EERA Ocean Energy JP Resource Workshop in October 2012, with the aim of identifying research synergies and opportunities for collaboration across the EU, identifying gaps in ocean energy research and prioritizing research objectives.
- The European Ocean Energy Association and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) host the 4th International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE) in Dublin in October, 2012. In bringing together over 750 global industry and academic experts in marine renewable energy, the conference provides an opportunity for the top industrial players to demonstrate the latest technologies and to accelerate the development of ocean energy technology by stimulating collaboration networks between companies and research and development centres.
- In an award decision issued on 18 December 2012, the European Commission awards funding to 23 renewable energy projects under the NER300 first call for proposals. These include three ocean energy projects: the Westwave wave energy converter project in Ireland and the Kyle Rhea Tidal Turbine Array and Sound of Islay projects, both in the United Kingdom.
- This year’s 2013 SET-Plan Conference took place on 7-8 May. The Irish Presidency hosted the conference at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin. The two-day event brought together a broad range of stakeholders including the research community, industry, financial community, policy-makers and a variety of international partners.
- The European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference 2013 will take place in Aalborg, Denmark on 2-5 September. EWTEC conferences provide a global focus for all activities in wave and marine current energy conversion technologies, research, development and demonstration.