News & events

The SET Plan: Revision, Conference, Progress Report

The European Commission has recently adopted the revision of the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan, initially launched in 2009. The plan aims to accelerate the development of clean and cost-effective technologies. The update aligns the SET Plan with the priorities of the European Green Deal, including the REPowerEU agenda and the Green Deal Industrial Plan, with a particular emphasis on the Net-Zero Industry Act.

Changes include integration with the European Research Area framework, new priorities on cross-cutting issues, and an expanded scope covering all strategic renewable energy technologies. The Plan also focuses on hydrogen, collaboration with industrial alliances, and specific measures such as promoting onshore wind energy, geothermal technologies, energy storage, building renovation, heat pumps, battery manufacturing, carbon capture, and small modular reactors.

The communication sets out 6 priorities:

  1. Becoming world number one in renewables
  2. Delivering a smart, consumer-centric energy system
  3. Develop and strengthen energy-efficient systems
  4. Diversify and strengthen energy options for sustainable transport
  5. Driving ambition in carbon capture, utilisation and storage
  6. Maintain and strengthen safety in the use of nuclear energy

What is in for batteries

Under priority 4, the SET Plan’s actions will focus on enhancing EU competitiveness in the global battery sector for e-mobility and stationary storage. It highlights the role of Batteries Europe on bringing together more than 700 stakeholders within the European batteries R&I ecosystem, underlying the importance of “value chain” approach for renewable fuels and bioenergy.

One of the main goals of the SET Plan in the batteries’ sector is to strengthen the European battery manufacturing value chain, including the domestic sourcing of raw materials and advanced materials as well as reusability and recyclability, to achieve self-sufficiency by 2030. Further work with Batteries Europe is needed to support the monitoring of the batteries value chain, as long as addressing innovative storage technologies beyond electrochemical batteries.

The communication also acknowledges the work delivered by the European Batteries Academy (developed by InnoEnergy – the coordinator of Batteries Europe), aiming to build on its experience to support the Net-Zero Industry Academies for training 100k people within its first 3 years. Lastly, it recommends developing stronger links between Batteries Europe and the European Battery Alliance to promote the development of viable investment projects and manufacturing capacity addressing also market, regulatory, infrastructure and technological barriers to their large-scale deployment.

The 17th SET Plan Conference and JRC Progress Report

The 17th edition of the SET Plan Conference 2023 was held on 13-14 November 2023 in Viladecans, Spain, organised by the Spanish Presidency of the European Council. It was a full 2-days schedule with insightful panel discussions and co-creation sessions, brining together all different stakeholders across the SET Plan, such as representatives from Member States and Associated Countries, European industry players, research and academia community, civil society and the European Institutions.

While all panel discussions delivered an insightful content, for batteries community the session on “Energy storage solutions and technologies: to provide flexibility in the energy system mobility” stood out for batteries’ community. It was highlighted that there is not a single energy storage solution that fits to the needs of all power grids. Instead, a combination of energy storage solutions will be needed to integrate more renewable energy into the energy systems. The list of these solutions will vary across regions and national power networks. Even though the market uptake of innovative energy storage technologies is crucial, as they are urgently needed to provide flexibility to the grid, it is important to focus on all Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) as this will allow the development of new technologies that overcome major energy storage criticalities and dependencies. On the transversal topics, there were mentioned: the need for accelerating upskilling and reskilling efforts of the workforce; need to mobilise private investments; the important role of engaging all relevant stakeholders and encompassing societal needs; focus on circularity and substitution of critical raw materials. Watch the recording of the session here.

Few days earlier, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission published its annual report “SET Plan Progress Report 2023”. The report which is in line with the communication of the revision of the SET Plan, provides an overview of the work implemented within its 14 Implementation Working Groups, with a special focus to the soon-to-be established cross-cutting task forces (digitalisation, access to markets, skills, circularity & materials substitution, R&I for societal needs), the role of the European Energy Research Alliance within the SET Plan, along with the close collaboration among ETIPs under the ETIPs Forum, which is coordinated by Batteries Europe.