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Technology Platform for Electricity


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Energy Policy & Generation Committee

Explanatory Note 24 February 2005

Technology Platform for Electricity

In addition to the presentation given at EURELECTRICs Energy Policy & Generation Committee meeting of 27 January 2005, the following explanatory remarks may be useful for the Committee members.

1. What is a Technology Platform?

Technology platforms (TP) gather main stakeholders within a certain sector, with the goal of jointly defining a Strategic Research Agenda in the respective sector/technology. These stakeholders include industry, public authorities, research institutes, civil society etc. TPs are not instruments of direct research funding. However,   established TPs have the advantage of being able to attract research funding from existing EU sources, such as the framework programmes. One obvious missing area from the energy field is a platform that would concentrate on conventional thermal conversion.

While the Commission is keen on facilitating the setting up of TPs, their future role among the EU research policy instruments is still somewhat unclear. Some recent statements by DG Research officials indicate that the Commission would support merging some of the TPs, or alternatively lifting up a smaller number of them into so-called Joint Technology Initiatives. TPs aim to enhance public private partnership for better, more effective work on R & D in Europe. They also contribute to saving public money by a better integration of national governments/interests. Also one wants to force the industry for higher financial commitments on R & D.

2. Existing examples and related initiatives

Roughly 20 TPs already exist, in various industrial fields, such as energy (hydrogen and fuel cells, photovoltaics, gas cooled nuclear reactors etc.), forestry, medicine, aeronautics, steel etc.

In this context one can also mention the ERANet activities with SSAs and CAs (specific support actions, concerted actions), FENCO (fossil energy coalition) and RFCS (Reserarch Fund for Coal and Steel) as an independent instrument. In addition, there are the national R & D programs like CATS (UK) or COORETEC (D). In parallel, there is the process of expression of interest for defining the future goals and requirements for FP 7, and as an over-arching frame the energy chapter in the draft European Constitution.

3. Possible Technology Platform for electricity

The industry must be able act as a driving force in the field of R&D. Therefore we have to act by defining and stating our position as electricity generators. The major focus is not to ask for funding of projects, but to orient the public R&D policies. In December 2004 EURELECTRIC, EUnited Turbines, Euracoal, EPPSA and VGB started to work out the concept of a TP for Electricity, as it was evident that the role of the TP is becoming of high relevance for energy R&D. Preparatory work has been undertaken on secretariat level to investigate possible contents of such work. In stead of pursuing two or more different concepts, we have persuaded the equipment supplier industry to join the activities in one strong common technology platform.

The concept of the now proposed TP is focused on electricity conversion technologies (conversion of primary resources into electric power). Reflecting the intentions of the European Commission on one hand and our requirements on the other hand, the approach for a TP has to cover the electricity technologies in general without neglecting the clear priorities for a feasible way to develop the necessary future technologies; i.e. fossil oriented technologies as the backbone for electricity generation. Fossil technologies are providing the most viable way of CO2 reduction and achieving competitiveness in an open market. This is also strongly linked to achieving near zero emission power plant concepts.

Supporting a wide technology platform would also fit well EURELECTRICs R&D priorities.

4. Actions and next steps

Possible feedback and comments by EP & G Committee as soon as possible

Finishing the concept an agreeing on leaflet and presentation early March

Looking for alliances and other stakeholders start immediately

Contacting the EC, different DGs after general approval

Presentation to selected MEPs after general approval

Launching event addressing EP, EC, national bodies and the industry April?

Drawing from experience of the past, particularly FP6 and recent directives, it is shown that R&D takes more and more often the role of a precursor, indicating the orientation of coming EU policies and directives. Consequently, technology policy is industrial policy and therefore must be in the central focus of our activities.

The issue of a TP for electricity is part of the overall strategic approach of EURELECTRIC and VGB. By being more present in the public with a credible approach, we can make a substantial contribution to forming the public opinion and contributing to the political decisions by the European Union.

Mr. Juho Lipponen, EURELECTRIC,

Dr. Franz Bauer, VGB,

Politica de confidentialitate



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