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Support to the coordination of national research and innovation programmes in areas of activities of the European Energy Research Alliance

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SUPEERA (Support to the coordination of national research and innovation programmes in areas of activities of the European Energy Research Alliance)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2021-06-30

Climate change and environmental degradation are an existential threat to Europe and the world. The transition to a climate-neutral society is both an urgent challenge and an opportunity to build a better future for all. Therefore, setting the right policy framework priorities will be essential to accelerate the transition to a climate-neutral economy and maximise its impact.

The EU has set out for this transition with the presentation of the European Commission's Green Deal policy programme in 2019. Climate action has become a number one priority for the Union in order to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
The transition towards climate neutrality by 2050 gives energy sector a central role, as energy is responsible for more than 75% of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions. The energy transition will consist of a socially fair and cost-efficient process moving from fossil fuels to a clean energy system based on increased use of renewable energy sources, their systemic integration, and the reduction of remaining greenhouse gas emissions.

Against this background, Research and Innovation (R&I) is critical for delivering the solutions and system transformations needed and determining the speed at which this transition will occur. Promising technologies and high-efficiency devices and materials have the potential to become game-changers in the process. The systemic integration of existing renewable and low-carbon energy technologies will be essential to ensure the continuous development and deployment of the full range of cross-sectorial solutions available. The Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) is a crucial framework to foster the Clean Energy Transition in Europe. It sets the roadmap by which the EU aims to meet its Energy Union targets by 2050, helping to align R&I priorities between the European Commission, the EU Member States, Associated Countries and the industry. Therefore, it is necessary to support the realisation of the existing framework while setting the direction in coordination with new and long-term EU climate policies pertaining to the Clean Energy Transition.

In this context, the SUPEERA project supports the SET Plan and the Clean Energy Transition to support Europe's strategic long-term vision, a Clean Planet for all. Therefore, EERA aisbl and its linked third parties strive to connect the dots by:
• Facilitating the coordination of the research community in support of the execution of the SET Plan towards the Clean Energy Transition
• Accelerating innovation and uptake by industry
• Providing recommendations on R&I priorities and policy frameworks through the development and analysis of the energy and macroeconomic indicators
• Supporting and promoting the connection of the SET Plan and the Clean Energy Transition with all stakeholders
The work carried out within the first 18 months of the SUPEERA project includes an in-depth analysis of the status of the SET Plan IPs activities' execution, as well as a preliminary map of EERA members' resources potentially available for their execution in terms of human and financial resources, as well as R&I infrastructures.

An initial mapping of existing cross-cutting and interdisciplinary topics – both technological and non-technological - and related activities in the SET Plan Implementation Plans has been conducted. In addition, a universal template to describe the existing and novel systemic and cross-sectoral issues towards the Clean Energy Transition has been created.
Those activities will support the execution of the SET Plan (WP1).
Research organisations and funding bodies from the EU13 countries will also be mobilised towards the CET during the project. Until now, two remote events and desk research have been conducted as preparation for the foreseen workshops in selected EU13 countries that will take place from September 2021 onwards.

Acceleration of innovation and uptake by industry (WP2) is also a key priority of SUPEERA. The most promising R&I areas for cooperation with industry have been identified by analysing the planned energy measures in the 27 NECPs. Additionally, three introductory webinars have been organised to start the dialogue with the EERA Joint Programmes and industrial platforms.

The effect of new EU policies and translating them into concrete actions for the EERA and SET Plan community is part of the WP3. A preliminary draft of relevant indicators to measure progress towards a sustainable energy system focused on decarbonisation and competitiveness has been completed. Through those indicators, it will be possible to translate the analysed policies into concrete actions.
The strategic lines discussed during the monthly meetings of the EERA Policy Working Group have served as the basis for drafting Policy Briefs on topical EU policies and identifying relevant themes for the webinars and the discussions held during the Annual Strategy Meetings. Accordingly, four Policy Briefs have been drafted so far (i.e. Energy Systems Integration Strategy; Hydrogen Strategy; Circular Economy Action Plan; and The New European Research Area). Additionally, two webinars have taken place to discuss the most recent and relevant policy developments in the EU climate and energy arena (i.e. "The European Green Deal: What role for energy research?" and "A European Green Deal fit for the Digital Age: What's in for Clean Energy Research?").

The SUPEERA communications activities (WP4) supported the project using digital tools, such as social media and the project's website.
Still, thanks to the support of the project's linked third parties, the activities carried out in the context of SUPEERA were disseminated not only through the online channels but also at various (online) events held over 2020 and the first semester of 2021. In particular, SUPEERA was more than once presented to the EERA stakeholders, the largest community in Europe of research on low-carbon technologies. This approach allowed the dissemination to the main actors in the European Union and the EU13 countries, which are a clear target of the SUPEERA project.
Research organisations from EU13 countries have also been the target of a campaign aiming to present the main developments in R&I in the renewable energy sector in the most recent members of the European Union. Four stories have been published between December 2020 and January 2021, describing how EU13 countries may support carbon neutrality through research projects about implementing the SET Plan.
SUPEERA fosters the acceleration, expansion, widening, and better-coordinated implementation of the SET Plan R&I activities and explores cross-cutting and interdisciplinary aspects. Moreover, the project enhances transnational cooperation with industry by creating and fostering fruitful dialogue models and drafting preliminary recommendations for policymakers on R&I priorities, cross-cutting issues, and policy frameworks to accelerate the CET. SUPEERA is making a crucial contribution in disseminating SET Plan activities, its implementation progress, and increasing its outreach to a broader stakeholder community. Such actions facilitated knowledge sharing, spreading best practices and cross-fertilisation of results.