Low-carbon technologies such as photovoltaics, wind power, nuclear fusion and carbon capture and storage are essential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the sustainability of the energy system. The uptake of new energy technologies can also decrease reliance on external suppliers of fossil fuels, as well as spur job creation and economic growth.
At the same time, technological investment is often expensive and commercially risky. Energy companies on their own may not deliver technological breakthroughs quickly enough. Public policy and investment, in partnership with the private sector, are therefore necessary to boost the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies for the future.
European Strategic Energy Technology Plan
The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) was set up to develop low-carbon technologies and make them economically viable. It aims to accelerate the uptake of new technologies such as next-generation wind turbines and bioenergy by reducing their costs and increasing efficiency.
The SET-Plan includes the SET-Plan Steering Group, European Industrial Initiatives, the European Energy Research Alliance, and the SET-Plan Information System.
Energy funding under Horizon 2020 and FP7
Around €5.9 billion goes towards energy projects in the EU's Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020. These projects aid the creation and improvement of clean energy technologies. They cover areas such as energy efficiency, renewables, smart energy networks, and energy storage. In November 2017 the European Commission published a report titled ‘Building a low-carbon, climate-resilient future’ on the areas where Horizon 2020 is funding research into clean energy solutions.
Previously, energy projects were funded by the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), which ran from 2007 to 2013.
Demonstration projects provide examples of new energy technologies in action.
Lists of various EU-funded demonstration projects by topic: