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The political context of the Energy theme is set by the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), the Flagship Initiative of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the European Energy 2020 Strategy and the discussion about its continuation (Green Paper "A 2030 framework for climate and energy policies").

The actions laid down in the SET-Plan aim at accelerating the research and testing of of energy-efficient technologies. After a more sector oriented structure (support of individual technology areas) during the last years the focus is now shifting towades the energy system as a whole, concentrating on provision of energy services to end-users. Furthermore, all actions should be linked closely in the context of a research and innovation chain and focus on the transformation of innovative energy technologies into marketable products. Another important aspect is the increased coordination and integration of Member States' energy-related activities in the form of joint programming and pooling of capacities.

The SET‑Plan roadmaps and implementation plans will provide an important input for the formulation of the Horizon 2020 work programmes and the SET Plan governance structure will be used as a principle basis for strategic priority setting and the coordination of Energy Research and innovation across the Union. The following initiatives, established or further developed in the context of the SET-Plan, set up research agendas and participate in the design of work programmes:

  • European Technology and Innovation Platforms (ETIP)  bring together industry, the researcher, Member States and the European Commission. Many of them are coordinated by the corresponding Technology Platforms.
  • The European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) is an association of European energy research organisations that set up joint programmes for individual thematic areas and implement them with their own resources.
  • The European Commission has established a European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on the interdisciplinary subject Smart Cities and Communities. It aims at linking stakeholders from industry, research and cities and communities to coordinate and design activities at the interface of energy, transport and ICT.