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SET-PLAN conference: Launch of the European Industrial Initiative for bio-energy

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Publish date: November 17, 2010

On November 15 and 16th, the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) PLAN conference 2010 reported on progress of the European Commission SET-Plan and officially launched the European Industrial Bio-energy Initiative (EIBI) that had been prepared with the contribution of Bellona. On the same occasion, the international dimension of the SET-Plan was discussed in order to identify best practices and existing forms of cooperation.

The Energy Council of Ministers adopted in February 2008 the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), as a basis to design the European policy for energy technology, dedicated to the deployment of low carbon technologies. The aim of the industrial initiatives set under the SET-Plan is to strengthen industrial research and innovation and achieve key objectives in six energy technologies: Wind, Solar, CO2 capture transport and storage, European electricity grid and recently, bio-energy and nuclear energy. The European Industrial Initiatives play a critical role for research that is impossible to carry at national level.

Bellona takes actively part in the European Biofuels Technology Platform (EBTP), which has contributed to shape the new European Industrial Bioenergy Initiative (EIBI). To boost the large-scale deployment of sustainable bioenergy – advanced biofuels and highly efficient combined heat and power from biomass – the EIBI will focus on innovative value chains that are not yet commercially available. Seven generic value chains have been identified that can help to reach the EU’s 2020 objectives. They include conversion paths based on thermochemical processes as well as biological and chemical processes, including the production of bioenergy carriers from CO2 and sunlight through microorganism based production (e.g. algae).  

The Chair of the EBTP Steering Committee, Veronique Hervouet (Total), emphasized the fact that bioenergy should contribute up to 14 % of the EU energy mix and up to 10% of energy demand in transport in 2020. To meet these targets, a range of so-called flagship and demonstration projects will be selected on sustainability-based criteria and funded for each value chain. Overall estimated costs for the 2010-2012 implementation phase stand at 2600M€, split roughly 50-50 between public and private funding, although funding sources remain to be defined. Lars Peter Lindfors, from Neste Oil, stressed the need to overcome the lack of funding and improve regulatory framework to respect the timetable. He added that ”EIBI’s core activities will need a €6-8 billion budget over 10 years, to fund 15 to 20 demonstration and/or reference plants.”

Six months after the launch of the CCS EII, Gardiner Hill, Vice-Chairman of the ZEP Advisory Council, introduced its implementation plan, aiming at cost-competitive deployment of CCS by 2020. He presented a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) agreed by the EII that will serve as yardsticks for measuring progress in reaching its targets on CCS deployment. He stressed the importance of closing the funding gap for the first demonstration plants due to be operating around 2015.

After two days of conference and discussion, the overall SET PLAN project looks promising and ambitious. Yet, attendees heard that it would require 50bn euros investments over the period 2010-2020 which the SET-Plan 2014-2020 budget will not provide. Participants called upon the EU to shift funds to the energy sector and urged member states to give more policy certainty, and concluded besides that without the SET-Plan, deployment costs will rise. 

 

Access all the conference presentations on the SET-Plan website.

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