Delivering on clean energy research and innovation

(EurActiv, 20 Nov 2018) Assembling together countries, industry and research institutes, the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan has been bringing together public and private investments to make the clean energy vision a reality on the ground. Launched in 2007, the SET Plan now stands at an important junction, writes Miguel Arias Cañete.

Miguel Arias Cañete is the EU Commissioner for climate action.

The transition towards a low-carbon economy, as we tackle climate change, is one of the biggest opportunities of our time. As Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, my aim is to accelerate the clean energy transition by putting in place the right legal, policy and financial framework, which includes cooperation on clean energy technologies through the innovative Strategic Energy Technologies (SET) Plan.

The clean energy transition is well underway in Europe. And we have made an impressive progress in strengthening our tools and policies. New, ambitious 2030 targets for energy efficiency – at least 32.5% –, and renewables – at least 32% – have been agreed by the European Parliament and EU governments.

These will also be required to put forward their own National Energy and Climate Plans for 2021 to 2030 – not in isolation, but by coordinating these plans in order to collectively achieve our common ambitions in the most efficient way. This is genuine European added value. And a legislative rulebook fit for the 21st century.

Technological developments will play a crucial role in delivering on these commitments, and achieving success in this respect requires massive investment. This is why we are progressively giving greater emphasis on using EU finance as leverage for private funding.

A prime example is the Investment Plan for Europe, which gives a much more efficient return on public investment. This has created a major boost in renewables projects, amongst others. Research into clean energy technologies also continues to benefit from generous EU funding.

Going forward, we have proposed an ambitious research and innovation framework programme, called the Horizon Europe, where climate, energy and mobility compose a €15 billion cluster with several intervention areas in the energy sector to support the front-runners of the transition.

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EurActiv, 20 Nov 2018: Delivering on clean energy research and innovation