European Research in the Energy Sector: Status and Outlook
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di Marco Gilli | rector of Politecnico di Torino
and Enrico Macii | vice rector for Research and Technology Transfer of Politecnico di Torino

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La ricerca nel settore energetico ha sempre rappresentato una priorità per l’Europa. La CE infatti ha investito nel 7° Programma Quadro 2,3 miliardi di euro sul comparto energy, valore che sale a 3,5 miliardi se si considerano
le risorse dedicate a temi correlati, come ad esempio l’ambiente e i trasporti. Ora il testimone passa a Horizon 2020, che accompagnerà la ricerca comunitaria nel periodo 2014-2020. Struttura, contenuti e allocazione dei budget sono ancora in fase di discussione (è previsto un accordo entro l’estate di quest’anno) ma sembra evidente che l’energia occuperà, ancora una volta, un ruolo di prima fila.

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Research in the energy field in the past ten years has covered various aspects, ranging from new technologies for energy generation, storage and distribution, to the optimization of energy utilization. The technology innovations originated by the research work have opened new market opportunities, and their deployment has been possible thanks to new rules, regulations and policies put in place by public authorities at different levels.

Research in energy is one of the priorities addressed at the European level. In particular, the European Commission (EC) has invested significant financial resources within the Seventh Framework Program (2007-2013) to fund initiatives in the energy sector; over 2.3 billions of Euros were dedicated to R&D Cooperation projects; which became more than 3.5 billions of Euros, considering the additional resources to complementary actions related to energy in fields such as ICT, NMP, environment and transport.

Marco Gilli, rector of Politecnico di Torino
Besides the aforementioned funding instruments, the EC has taken actions to developing policies targeting an overall transformation of the European energy system, with implications on how energy is sourced and produced, how it is transported, distributed, traded and, finally, utilized. One of the most prominent results of such actions is the so-called “SET-Plan” (European Strategic Energy Technology Plan), whose goal is that of making low-carbon technologies affordable and competitive, thus accessible to citizens and appealing for a creation of new markets and businesses.

The plan features a total of eight initiatives, focusing on topics such as bioenergy, CO2 CCS, electricity grid, fuel cells and hydrogen, sustainable nuclear, energy efficiency and smart cities, solar energy, and wind energy. [...]

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