Revamp of the SET Plan and the role of bioenergy and renewable fuels

The SET Plan is a key instrument to achieve the EU Green Deal objectives. For this reason, an urgent ‘revamp’ is needed, to align the Plan with the evolving policy framework and current geopolitical developments.

Launched in 2007, the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) has become the reference framework for addressing clean energy research and innovation developments in Europe. Since its last revision in 2015, the European climate and energy policy landscape has deeply evolved, and more ambitious targets have been set for reducing GHG emissions. In addition, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis have raised again the issues of energy security with unpreceded force.

This year’s SET Plan Progress Report 2022, which has just been released by the Joint Research Centre, aims to support the revamping process by drawing out the latest achievements and possible ways forward for the SET Plan. The focus is on clean energy technologies and their a strategic role for the European energy sustainability: supporting them is crucial both to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, and to respond to the current energy crisis in a cost-effective manner.

A renewed strategy will be shaped to enhance synergies at national and international level, including an harmonization of financial support mechanisms for R&I. Fostering coordination on research and innovation activities is a priority task in the revamping process, as it is crucial for achieving the Green Deal objectives. “The SET Plan is instrumental in anticipating and designing the innovation needed and aligning funding efforts at national and European level”, stated by Kadri Simson (DG ENER).

In this framework, the SET Plan Report recognizes the important contribution that bioenergy and renewable fuels can give to achieve the Green Deal targets, both by providing a variety of solutions in the clean energy field, and by establishing synergies with other sectors – such as food production and waste management.

The 2022 SET Plan Conference “Towards a new Strategic Energy Technology Plan”, held on the 9-10 November in Prague, provided a platform to discuss the future of the SET Plan in relation to the European policy context and geopolitical challenges. A strong emphasis was put on the need for integrating different technologies and sources to reach an optimal energy mix.

“The Conference was very positive in highlighting that all of the technologies in the SET Plan will be needed to fulfill the ambitions in the Green Deal and make EU climate neutral and independent from fossil fuels” – said Patrik Klintbom, Chair of ETIP Bioenergy – “Focusing on a single solution and neglecting others will lead to failure”.

If the Green Deal has shaped a valuable regulatory framework for the development of clean energy, it is now important to provide technology solutions that match the market demand. This is where a revamped SET plan can contribute most by encompassing a range of integrated technologies, including renewable fuels and bioenergy.

Find out more in the State of SET Plan Progress Report 2022