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The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) was launched in 2007 by the EU in order to guarantee cost-effective low carbon energy supply in the long term.

The SET-Plan aims at promoting research and innovation initiatives all around Europe by accelerating the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies. In doing so, it promotes cooperation amongst member states, industry, research institutions and the EU.

The investments, especially in form of public-private partnerships which are carried out in a joint effort by industry and public sector (both at EU and member countries level), have already established the SET-Plan as an important pillar of the European Technology Policy.

Summed up, the SET-Plan follows these objectives:

  • Accelerating the development of low-carbon technologies (e.g. in the contest of Smart Cities)
  • Improving the competitiveness of innovative energy technologies
  • Contributing to reach the EU 20-20-20 goals until 2020:
    • Focusing on demonstration and implementation
    • Using technologies with the highest potential
    • Implementing big projects and project bundles

The implementation of the SET-Plan is accomplished through following instruments, respectively by involving following stakeholder groups:

  • European Technology and Innovation Platforms (ETIPs) and
  • European Energy Research Alliance (EERA)

Further elements of the SET-Plan are the Steering Group and the Information System SETIS.

Within the European Technology and Innovation Platforms, the concrete SET-Plan measures are to be implemented throughout the period until 2020. These large-scale platforms, which bring research and industry together, encompass a critical mass of activities and actors with the common goal of strengthening industrial energy research and innovation.

The European Energy Research Alliance brings together more than 170 research organisations and universities within the EU. It aims to accelerate new energy technology development by cooperation on pan-European programmes (Joint Programmes). Until February 2018 there has been set up a number of 17 Joint Programmes, among which one is dedicated to Smart Cities: The EERA Joint Programme on Smart Cities is coordinated by the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT).

The SET-Plan Steering Group consists of high-level representatives from EU countries, as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey. Its role is to ensures better alignment between the different research and innovation programmes at EU and national level, as well as the SET Plan priorities. Apart from that, it also increases cooperation between national programmes in order to avoid duplication and heightens the impact of public investment.

The SET-Plan Information System (SETIS) is not only a platform which provides information on the state of low-carbon technologies. It also represents a tool for assessing the impact of energy technology policies, reviewing the costs and benefits of various technological options and estimating implementation costs, which represent valuable information for various users (private companies, trade associations, the European Energy Research Alliance, international organisations and financial institutions).

Last update: August 2019


smartcities: Europe