Strategic Energy Technologies Information System

European Industrial Initiative on wind energy

Summary of Roadmaps

Wind energy

This European Industrial Initiative aims to improve the competitiveness of wind energy technologies, to enable the exploitation of the offshore resources and deep waters potential, and to facilitate grid integration of the wind power, to enable wind energy to take a 20% share of the final EU electricity consumption by 2020.
Achieving these objectives, especially moving to deep offshore locations, presents a whole new range of challenges. More detailed resource mapping and spatial planning tools will have to be developed. A new generation of large scale, more efficient and more reliable wind turbines will have to be demonstrated under real operating conditions for both offshore and onshore applications. Dedicated maritime technologies, e.g. structures, need to be rolled out to allow for exploitation of offshore potential in deep waters. Manufacturing processes have to be further automated and optimised relying notably on industrial cooperation with other sectors; and the whole logistics cycle from component manufacture, transport and erection to wind farm operation and maintenance has to be worked out and refined. In addition, an overhaul of the electricity networks will have to be planned using new techniques and concepts to enable them to fully operate under high shares of variable power supply.

To this end, the EII proposes to develop a more accurate mapping of wind resources and capacity potentials in Europe including hostile and complex environments, through coordinated measurement campaigns and the development of spatial planning tools; to build 5-10 new testing facilities for new turbine systems; up to 10 demonstration projects of next generation turbines including a 10-20 MW prototype; at least 4 prototypes of new offshore structures tested in different environments; demonstration of new manufacturing processes; and testing the viability of new logistics strategies and erection techniques in remote and often hostile weather environments; and to demonstrate at an industrial scale, grid integration techniques to manage wind farms as “virtual power plants”. All of this will be underpinned by a comprehensive research programme to constantly improve the technical and economic performance of wind turbines. The cost of such a European programme is estimated at €6 billion over the next ten years.

Solar energy

The European Industrial Initiative on solar energy focuses on photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. The objective of the PV component of the Initiative is to improve the competitiveness of the technology and to facilitate its large scale penetration in urban areas and green field locations, as well as its integration into the electricity grid. These measures should establish PV as a competitive and sustainable energy technology contributing up to 12% of European electricity demand by 2020. For the CSP component, the objective is to demonstrate the competitiveness and readiness for mass deployment of advanced CSP plants, through scaling-up of the most promising technologies to pre-commercial or commercial level in order to contribute to around 3% of European electricity supply by 2020 with a potential of at least 10% by 2030 if the DESERTECThe idea of DESERTEC isa massive deployment of solar technology, mainly CSP, in MENA countries andexport of electricity to Europe. (MENA =Middle East and North Africa) vision is achieved.

Achieving this objective for photovoltaic energy requires a substantial reduction of costs, the improvement of device efficiencies, and at the same time, the demonstration of innovative technological solutions for large scale deployment of PV and the integration of large scale PV generated electricity into the European grid. The EII proposes an R&D programme focused on increasing performance and extending the life time of PV systems and components, and on key technologies for the interface with the power grid, such as inverter and storage devices; up to 5 pilot plants of advanced automated high throughput manufacturing processes for mass production; and a portfolio of demonstration projects of PV power production in decentralized applications and in urban communities, e.g. as building integrated concepts and as centralised power plants of 50-100 MW. This will be underpinned by a long term R&D programme on advanced PV concepts and systems.
Achieving large-scale, sustainable deployment of advanced CSP plants with better technical and environmental performance and lower costs requires addressing the system efficiency, together with increasing power availability through better storage systems and hybridisation and reducing water consumption by developing new thermal cycles and dry cooling systems. The EII proposes an R&D and demonstration programme focused on the development of innovative components and cycles in all the areas mentioned above and their demonstration at an industrial scale through the construction of at least 10 first-of-a-kind power plants. The cost of the solar EII programme is estimated at 16 B€ over the next ten years, of which €9 billion are for the PV and €7 billion for the CSP.

Electricity grid

The objective of the European Industrial Initiative on electricity grid is to enable the transmission and distribution of up to 35% of electricity from dispersed and concentrated renewable sources by 2020 and a completely decarbonised electricity production by 2050; to integrate further national networks into a market-based truly pan-European network, to guarantee a high quality of electricity supply to all customers and to engage them as active participants in energy efficiency; and to anticipate new developments such as the electrification of transport.

As a response, the EII proposes a strongly integrated R&D and demonstration programme to identify and implement the most suitable grid architectures. The research part concentrates on the development of new technologies to improve flexibility and security of the network and to mitigate future capital and operational expenditure, but also on developing the necessary modeling and planning tools for designing and testing innovative pan-European grid architectures. In parallel, up to 20 large-scale demonstration projects covering diversified geographical, social and climate conditions are proposed to validate solutions before their market roll-out, in all sectors from home energy efficiency through smart meters to the system integration of variable energy sources to the automation and control of whole networks. Cross-cutting activities are also included to propose innovative market designs in keeping with the evolving European electricity system. The cost of the Electricity Grids EII is estimated at €2 billion over the next ten years excluding the costs of the generic assets used in the demonstration, estimated in several billions euros, paid directly by the balance sheet of the network operators and of other participants.


The European Industrial Initiative on Bioenergy addresses the technical and economic barriers to the further development and accelerated commercial deployment of bioenergy technologies for widespread sustainable exploitation of biomass resources, aiming to ensure at least 14% bioenergy in the EU energy mix by 2020, and at the same time to guarantee greenhouse gas (GHG) emission savings of 60% for bio-fuels and bio-liquids under the sustainability criteria of the new RES Directive.
Bioenergy encompasses a chain of technologies from the production of biomass in a sustainable manner, meaning cultivation, harvesting, transportation, storage and eventually pre-treatment before use in a conversion process to produce the final energy, biofuel or chemical feedstock. While many technologies in use are quite mature, there is still considerable work to ensure that a minimum sustainability threshold is exceeded. Combined production of heat and electricity (CHP) is moving to wide commercial exploitation in co-firing systems with fossil fuels, particularly coal, while efficiency and scale of operation in purely biomass fired systems still needs some development before optimum efficiencies may be achieved. Production of biofuels from ligno-cellulosic biomass is only at the pilot scale, although demonstration projects will be on line by 2010. Biorefineries are some way behind ligno-cellulosic biofuel production and are unlikely to be fully demonstrated by 2015. Cost of investment is steadily being reduced for all bioenergy systems. Only approximate figures for ligno-cellulosic biofuel production can be given in the absence of large-scale demonstration performance data. With the exception of biomass co-firing in fossil power plants and biogas production from agricultural residues, all other technologies still require considerable research and development.

The EII proposes to carry out an ambitious demonstration programme of different bio-energy pathways at a scale appropriate to the level of their maturity - pilot plants, pre-commercial demonstration or full industrial scale. Up to about 30 such plants will be built and operated across Europe to take full account of differing geographical and climate conditions and logistical constraints. A longer term research programme will support the bio-energy industry development beyond 2020. The cost of such a European programme is estimated at €9 billion over the next ten years.

Carbon capture and storage

The objective of the European Industrial Initiative on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is to demonstrate the commercial viability of CCS technologies in an economic environment driven by the emissions trading scheme, and in particular, to enable their cost competitive deployment in coal-fired power plants by 2020 or soon after; and to further develop them to allow for their subsequent wide-spread use in all carbon intensive industrial sectors.
Today, most elements of the CCS chain of technologies (comprising CO2 capture, transport and underground storage) are used commercially, albeit at a scale much smaller than that required for power generation or by other carbon intensive industries. Furthermore, the technology is expensive, its utilization reduces significantly the overall efficiency of the power plant or the industrial process to which it is applied, and there are concerns over the long term safety of underground CO2 storage. A prerequisite for the large scale deployment of CCS is the demonstration of the technical and economic feasibility of existing technologies. At the same time, a comprehensive research programme is needed to reduce costs, increase efficiencies across the whole CCS technology chain, particularly in the capture process, and optimize the technology for use in all carbon intensive industrial sectors.

In response to these challenges, a portfolio of different demonstration projects needs to be constructed within the next five years, to test existing CCS technologies and their integration and demonstrate their long term operational availability and reliability. The demonstration projects shall be networked at EU level to increase the level of knowledge sharing and promote common activities. The research programme shall deliver more efficient and cost competitive CCS technologies based on improved components, integrated systems and processes to make CCS commercially feasible by 2020. Preparations for the roll-out phase of CCS, including CO2 transport and storage infrastructure will be started in parallel. The cost of the CCS Initiative will be of the order of €10.5 to €16.5 billion over the next 10 years, depending on the actual number of demonstration plants built.

Nuclear fission

The long-term sustainability of nuclear energy is the main driver of the European Industrial Initiative on nuclear fission. In particular, the EII is focused on a new generation of reactor - the so-called Generation-IV nuclear reactor. Such reactors will operate in new ways that have the capability of exploiting the full energetic potential of uranium, thus greatly extending resource availability by factors of up to 100 over current technologies. They will maximise inherent safety and produce less radioactive waste. Some types - the high-temperature reactors - will also have the ability to co-generate electricity and process heat for industrial purposes (oil, chemical and metal industry needs of process heat, synfuels and hydrogen production, seawater desalination, etc).
Two reactor concepts are included in the EII: a prototype sodium cooled fast reactor coupled to the electricity grid and a demonstrator reactor of an alternative fast neutron design, either lead or gas cooled, not coupled to the grid. The decision on whether to favour the lead or gas cooled reactor as the alternative technology will be taken around 2012 on the basis of the conclusions of research programmes currently on-going. In addition, the initiative will design and construct pilot fuel fabrication workshops to produce the fuel for both demonstration plants by the start of their operation in 2020, as well as all the necessary supporting research infrastructures for such a programme of advanced reactor design and construction. Operation of the prototype and demonstrator reactors from 2020 will allow a return of experience that, coupled with further R&D, will enable commercial deployment starting from 2040. At the same time, a coordinated programme of cross-cutting research will be conducted in all aspects of nuclear reactor safety, performance, lifetime management, waste handling and radiation protection to serve both the development of future Generation IV reactors but also the continued safe and competitive operation of current nuclear plants that are providing 30% of EU electricity. The cost of the Initiative is estimated at €5-€10 billion over the next ten years.

Energy efficiency - Smart Cities Initiative

The Smart Cities Initiative aims to improve the energy efficiency and to deploy renewable energy in large cities beyond the levels envisaged for the EU energy and climate change policy. This Initiative will support cities and regions to take ambitious and pioneering measures to progress by 2020 towards a 40% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through sustainable use and production of energy. This will require systemic approaches and organisational innovation, encompassing energy efficiency, low carbon technologies and the smart management of supply and demand. In particular, measures on buildings, local energy networks and transport would be the main components of the Initiative. It builds on existing EU and national policies and measures and it draws upon the other SET-Plan Industrial Initiatives in particular the solar and electricity grid. It also relies on the European Economic Plan for Recovery, and public-private partnerships on Buildings and Green Cars.
In order to achieve the above measures, the Smart Cities Initiative proposes ambitious development, deployment and testing programmes for building, energy networks (heating and cooling, electricity) and transport applications to test and validate advanced energy efficient and low carbon technologies and programme strategies under real-life conditions. This includes the testing and assessment in the next 10 years of up to 200 zero-energy buildings in different climatic zones, of different strategies for the refurbishment of existing buildings; the establishment of up to 10 development and deployment programmes for smart grids in cities, the set up of development and testing programmes for the large deployment of low carbon transport systems and alternative fuel vehicles. In parallel, demonstration programmes will focus on the large scale deployment of RES heating and cooling in cities and their integration in energy efficient buildings. The cost of such a European programme is estimated at €10-€12 billion over the next ten years.

Key milestones of the roadmaps

The global roadmap that appears below shows the key milestones of each EII, assuming that all activities start in 2010. More details are given in the individual roadmaps.

Summary of Roadmaps 1

Summary of Roadmaps 2

European Energy Research Alliance (EERA)

Achieving Europe's 2020 and 2050 targets on greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy and energy efficiency will require the deployment of more efficient and advanced technologies. Research and development are essential to develop such new generations of energy technologies, to lower their costs and accelerate the time for market take-up. EERA is the EU response to a better organised and more efficient research based on European excellence. The objectives of the EERA are therefore to accelerate the development of new energy technologies in support of the SET-Plan by strengthening, expanding and optimising EU energy research capabilities through the sharing of world-class national facilities in Europe and the joint realisation of pan-European R&D programmes. In particular a number of joint programming activities are proposed in the areas of wind, solar, CCS, biofuels, geothermal, materials for nuclear energy, etc. These activities will be complemented with key partnerships with industry though the EIIs, universities and non-EU leading research institutes. The cost of the proposed activities is estimated to be 500 million euro per year.