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The coming decade is in many ways both interesting and challeng- NEEDS AND SOLUTIONS ing: different clean energy technologies are approaching break- European energy research should support European political aims, through; Europe has set challenging targets for carbon emission including the preparation and setting-up of a stronger European reductions, renewable energy use, and energy effi ciency; and EU energy infrastructure. In line with the subsidiary principle, big chal- signals continued support along this line. Global markets for new lenges call for joint European efforts. Energy research conducted energy technologies are growing fast and global competition is at the European level is the appropriate approach to match the increasing. Europe has a good balance between a free market challenges and to achieve the critical mass required for big and economy, effi cient in driving new innovative technologies, and demanding projects, including research infrastructures and dem- governments effi cient in pushing publically controlled areas like onstration projects. Stronger national and transnational efforts are major parts of the infrastructure. Europe should strive for global needed and require European-scale management and support in leadership in sustainable energy technology and increase its order to: (1) enable a decisive contribution to climate protection; (2) funding level of R&D in response to increasing global competition. achieve European technology leadership; and to (3) give the high- European energy research should make clean energy technolo- est possible support to European industry. gies more cost-competitive, but also address energy system issues and other social issues arising from the large-scale exploitation of Scientifi c excellence needs to be the dominant criterion for the renewable energy sources. Energy services should still be available selection of projects and partners. Research teams collaborate be- to all income groups. cause they need each other. Different teams may compete in gath- ering the best expertise as well as in developing a clear project New, large research efforts should be promoted across the European plan and related budget to solve a concrete problem. Stimulating Research Area (ERA) through networks of centres of excellence and personal exchange of knowledge at a high level will pave the way effi cient joint programming, leading to globally competitive joint pro- to new ideas accelerating innovation. grammes and projects. This requires development of an advanced research structure throughout the region, such as strong scientifi c The SET-Plan, including a whole spectrum of important technolo- centres focusing on basic research related to a whole spectrum of gies, provides a good basis for reaching EU 20-20-20 energy and environmentally friendly and climate neutral technologies (including climate objectives and it is an excellent strategy to guide European fi ssion and fusion). Research activity must also include political and efforts in the short to medium term. The SET-Plan should serve as economic aspects. The European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) is the starting point for the Horizon 2020 energy research agenda. pioneering efforts in joint programming which can serve as a model Unfortunately, today it is underfi nanced and too weakly integrated for other types of consortia worthy of support. Such joint efforts within the Framework Program. Current research budgets are by far should be promoted to gain greater coherence in national research not suffi cient, considering the magnitude of the challenges. The SET- efforts and public support schemes. This will enable Europe to be- Plan has helped to identify common research goals and to develop come the leading region in energy transformational technologies, in and implement coordinated energy research strategies leading to close association with a healthy and strong renewable energy sector. a more optimised sharing of work in Europe. Most but not all of the Realistically, the rate of transformation depends on effi cient policy important energy technologies are included in the SET-Plan. measures, such as an enlarged emission trading scheme, joint efforts to strengthen European energy infrastructures, and a more vigorous effort in implementing the SET-Plan. 42


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