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IP/08/1587

Brussels, 28 October 2008

Fostering "green" energy technologies: Leading EU research institutes launch the European Energy Research Alliance

EU Commissioners for Research and Energy, Janez Potočnik and Andris Piebalgs welcomed today the initiative of leading research institutes in the European Union (EU) to found the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA). The Alliance is going to expand and optimise EU energy research capabilities through the sharing of world-class national facilities and the joint realisation of national and European programmes. This new Research Alliance will be a key actor of the EU Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) and will contribute to accelerate the development of new low carbon technologies for EU to move toward a low carbon economy.

EU Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik said: The development of cutting-edge energy technologies requires the pooling of the best brains and resources beyond national borders. The creation of the European Energy Research Alliance that will coordinate national and European energy research programmes is a crucial step forwards. This test case of joint programming will enable us to leverage on a more efficient use of national and European resources and compete successfully on the international level."

The Commissioner for Energy, Andris Piebalgs underlined: "The SET-Plan offers a blueprint for Europe to develop a world-class portfolio of affordable, clean, efficient and low emission energy technologies. The opportunity to be global leaders in low carbon technologies lies in front of us."

The triple challenge of energy security, climate change and competitiveness that the EU currently faces is such that it will require scaling up and better coordination of all available resources to develop the energy technologies that will allow Europe's citizens to enjoy a good quality of life in carbon constrained future. Going it alone at national level will lead to failure and waste of resources. Working together will put Europe in the driver's seat on the way to a new energy era.

In November 2007, the European Commission launched the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), which gives energy research in Europe an important push. It will combine the potential of research capacities of the major European institutes and universities with the engagement of European industry and the commitment of the Member States. Actions will be supported by reliable information provided by the Commission's European Energy Technology Information System (SETIS).

The European Energy Research Alliance is the SET Plan' research community pillar. The cooperation of major national research institutes and universities will move help to move from today's model of collaborating on individual projects towards a new way of jointly implementing whole programmes which go from research and development through deployment. There are many scientific fields which have an impact on the development of energy technologies, from engineering to the social sciences. The Alliance is able to cover many different disciplines, bringing a much-needed multidisciplinary approach to energy research.

The SET Plan also includes a series of new priority European Industrial Initiatives focusing on the development of technologies for which working at Community level will add most value. Initiatives in preparation focus on carbon capture and storage, bio-energy, wind and solar energy, the European smart grid and sustainable fission.

Background

Current members of the EERA are:

  • Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA), France
  • Centro de Investigaciones Energeticas, Medioambientales y Tecnologicas (CIEMAT), Spain
  • Centre for renewable energy sources (CRES), Greece
  • Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), Netherlands
  • Ente per le Nuove tecnologie, l’Energia e l’Ambiente, (ENEA), Italy
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZ Jülich), Germany
  • INETI - Instituto Nacional de Engenharia, Tecnologia e Inovação, Portugal.
  • Risø DTU National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, Denmark
  • Energy Research Centre (ERC), United Kingdom
  • Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), Finland
  • European University Association (EUA),
  • European Heads of Research Councils (EUROHORCS)

For more information:
On EERA: http://www.eera-set.eu.
On the SET Plan: IP/07/1750
Details are also available in MEMO/07/493 and the SET-plan document, which is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/res/setplan/communication_2007_en.htm;
MEMO/07/494 provides answers to some frequently asked questions.
See also MEMO/08/657


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