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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 3 - SUPEERA (Support to the coordination of national research and innovation programmes in areas of activities of the European Energy Research Alliance)

Reporting period: 2022-07-01 to 2023-06-30

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 the 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 SUPEERA project is rooted in and supports the execution of the SET Plan by integrating it into the broader context of the Clean Energy Transition process. Since the project kicked off in January 2020, EERA aisbl with its linked third parties (CEA, DTU, KIT, VTT, SINTEF) has strived to “connect the dots” in order to achieve 4 main objectives:
1. Facilitate the coordination of the research community in support of the execution of the SET Plan towards the Clean Energy Transition
2. Accelerate innovation and uptake by the industry
3. Provide recommendations on R&I priorities and policy frameworks
4. Support and promote the SET-Plan and the Clean Energy Transition

Over the course of a 42-month project duration, and aligned with these objectives, SUPEERA designed an implementation strategy that generated a series of added value results for both the EERA community and policy makers at EU and national levels:
• Analysis of all Implementation Plans, mapping of open and covered IPs actions and assessing their respective progress in achieving the targets of the SET Plan.
• Providing an overview of the barriers of the Implementation Plans activities that in SETIS’ 2020 report were lagging behind (labelled as “orange” and “red"), impeding the IPS actions to progress.
• Elaboration of a comprehensive Report that consolidates feedback from EERA Joint Programmes and ETIPs on the identified shortcomings and suggests improvement opportunities in the context of the revision of the SET Plan. The outcome of this exercise was the development of Operational and High-Level recommendations transmitted to the EC.
• Implementation of nine physical and online workshops in EU13 countries with the aim of having a better understanding of rather low participation in the SET Plan and EU-funded programmes and facilitating their engagement and participation in these frameworks and funding schemes.
• Analysis of all 27 NECPs and identification of the common technological pathways. Setting up of a series of physical and online workshops to facilitate the discussion between research and industry stakeholders. Key outcomes of these exchanges enabled the development of a Collaboration Model – a strategic approach to disclose how key actors can interact and coordinate to accomplish predefined goals through targeted activities, including cross-sectoral aspects and different energy technologies. The final result is the development of two sets of recommendations aiming to: a) support the uptake of new technologies by the industry and, b) better feature cross-sectorial and systemic topics into policy making process.
• Identification of 19 indicators to measure progress towards a sustainable energy system with a focus on decarbonisation and competitiveness. An interaction approach was adopted between indicators, policies, and energy system modelling. These indicators measure the progress of energy transition by comparing the indicator value for different countries or comparing the indicator value today with the value in 2030 or 2050.
• Development of 13 Policy Briefs and organisation of 6 thematic webinars to provide the research community with tailored recommendations on concrete research areas and industrial challenges stemming from topical EU policies. Enabling policymakers to gain insights into the research and innovation (R&I) challenges faced by the clean energy sector.
• Raising awareness regarding the project's objectives and results and disseminating information to enhance the visibility of the SET Plan and the Clean Energy Transition (CET).
SUPEERA has been fostering the acceleration, expansion, widening, and better-coordinated implementation of the SET Plan R&I activities and the exploration of the Plan’s cross-cutting and interdisciplinary aspects. In this respect, the project also contributed to the revision of the SET Plan, by engaging broader EERA community in the revaping process. Moreover, the project has enhanced 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 has made 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 of best practices and cross-fertilisation of results.