EERA’s operations director Ivan Matejak spoke with Science|Business on the need for more political visibility for Europe’s Strategic Energy Technology (SET) plan, of which EERA acts as the research pillar.
He wants to see the SET steering group – the decision-making body involving member state representatives – given more political power and visibility so that “what [they] decide is better implemented in national legislation in a more efficient way”.
Matejak was commenting after the European Commission recently announced revisions to the now-15-year-old plan, hoping to breathe in fresh life and to take into account new 2030 and 2050 energy and climate goals.
While these revisions are welcome, the SET plan needs to be more prominent in national and European energy policy discussions, Matejak said. He believes it has not been taken seriously enough on a political level due to its inherent nature. “The answer is in the name; it has been focused on technological priorities, and not also on the political ones,” he said.
For Matejak, the revisions bring the plan up to date on paper. The trick will be in translating this. “I would say we have the [Commission] communication that defines new targets and the structure to support it, now let’s see how it is going to be translated into revised implementation plans, because what is written there has to be translated into concrete actions,” he said.
“Without the SET plan we would not have reached the level of technological development and deployment of renewables that we have today,” he said. If Europe wants to achieve its climate goals, then the plan will be fundamental to that process, especially as it pushes for greater collaboration on R&I in the energy sector.
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