100% renewable targets will require power storage to manage flows on the net
Electrolysers utilise these intermittent power flows to produce H2 gas from water
H2 gas can be stored in large quantities underground and transported via existing gas pipelines
H2 vehicles recharge faster and are more durable than battery powered transport
Growing H2 demand in industrial processes will reduce costs and increase supply

The European Commission recently launched an online Strategic Energy Technologies (SET-Plan) Information System, “SETIS”, which provides the latest research results on the status, forecasts and R&D investment figures for low-carbon technologies. It underpins the effective strategic planning, conception and implementation of EU energy technology policy and serves notably to the implementation of the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan). SETIS assesses and monitors those technologies that have a significant potential to help Europe meet its energy and climate change targets, such as wind power, solar power, CCS or bioenergy. The Information System offers interactive tools to compare the maximum potential and energy production costs foreseen for the different technologies over time. Scientific and market analyses are fed into the system by the SETIS community, led by the European Commission through its Joint Research Centre (JRC), working in close collaboration with other Commission services, EU Member States and European stakeholders in industry, research and finance.

The analyses cover in particular the low-carbon technologies identified by the SET-Plan and proposed as European Industrial Initiatives (wind, photovoltaics, concentrating solar power, bioenergy, carbon dioxide capture and storage -CCS-, smart grids, nuclear fission), two ongoing Initiatives (fuel cell and hydrogen and nuclear fusion) as well as others with great potential such as, ocean, geothermal power and energy storage. Demand side energy efficient technologies are also included.

SETIS focuses its analysis on R&D investment, which marks the innovation capacities for each technology; the technologies’ state-of-the-art, and forecasts from a technological, market and impact point of view.

The Capacities Maps monitor R&D efforts made by the industry and the public sector in Europe on key low-carbon technologies. SETIS will continuously monitor the research efforts and report periodically through these Maps.

The Technology Maps gather key information on the status and prospects of low-carbon technologies. These maps have contributed to the definition and the key performance indicators of the proposed “Technology Roadmaps”. The Technology Maps offer Europe a solid basis for technology development strategic planning and is updated annually. The next edition is due by the end of 2009.

SETIS also releases online an energy production cost calculator that allows users to compare costs of production for different technologies over the time (up to 2030) and dissects the main elements that contribute to these costs. Cost prospects are a valuable tool to foresee the competitiveness of a given technology within the energy system and its evolution.

Background

The SET-Plan was adopted by the Council of the European Union in February 2008. It is a first step to establish an energy technology policy for Europe and is based on the following objectives:

  • Accelerate knowledge development, technology transfer and up-take
  • Maintain EU industrial leadership on low-carbon energy technologies
  • Foster science for transforming energy technologies to achieve our energy and climate change goals for 2020, and
  • Contribute to the global effort towards a low-carbon economy.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is a Directorate General of the European Commission. It provides customer-driven scientific and technical support for the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of EU policies. As a service of the European Commission, the JRC functions as a reference centre of science and technology for the Union. Close to the policy-making process, it serves the common interest of the Member States, while being independent of special interests, whether private or national.