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Highlights on climate and energy R&I, policy roundup and funding opportunities

21 February 2022
In this issue:
 
  • European Union-African Union Summit unveils renewed interest in investments between two entities
  • European Commission publishes study on aspecific regulatory framework for fusion facilities
  • EU countries called to express interest in EU renewable energy financing mechanism
  • EU Parliament raises focal points for development of EU strategy for offshore renewables
  • EU Parliament's rapporteur for renewable energy directive proposes key amendments to Commission text
  • €110 million to be invested in LIFE projects for environment and climate in 11 EU countries
  • How Egyptian national policies might impact COP27 agenda
  • Oil majors are massively underdelivering on climate action, new study confirms
  • IEA released oil market report analysis calling for increased investment in clean energy
News
EU Institutions
European Union-African Union Summit unveils renewed interest in investments between two entities
 
The latest edition of the European Union-African Union Summit saw a revamp of the interest in structural investments between the two entities. The EU plans to unlock new money through its Global Gateway strategy, focusing on three main sectors: energy, digital and transport interconnection. In particular, the EU aims to support African countries in granting wider access to electricity through the expansion of regional power grids, and the development of hydrogen capacity. The expansion of a hydrogen market is also crucial for the EU, which could benefit from a new trade partner for the resource. According to announcements, the EU will dedicate 150 billion euros of investments in Africa for the next few years, putting the bloc in direct competition with the China Belt and Road. Of primary importance will also be the expansion of a market for raw materials. The main concerns from advocacy groups revolve around an equal distribution of the green transition's benefits and a price competition among green sources, with hydrogen driving up costs of other green energy production processes.
 
Read more here
 
 
European Commission publishes study on aspecific regulatory framework for fusion facilities
 
At the beginning of February, the UK-based JET laboratory achieved a significant breakthrough in advancing fusion technology research and innovation. Although the era of fusion remains a few decades away, progress made on the technology raises questions on the preparedness of EU countries to switch from fission to fusion eventually. A commissioned study conducted by GRS (German TSO) and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) considers the specific risks of fusion facilities. By surveying the regulatory approaches in selected countries working on fusion facilities like DEMO and ITER, the study shows how regulation on fusion facilities, mainly based on existing fission ones, is envisaged. Therefore, the study further develops on safety requirements specifically needed for fusion facilities and formulates recommendations for implementing a legal and regulatory framework.
 
Read more here
 
 
EU countries called to express interest in EU renewable energy financing mechanism
 
The EU renewable energy financing mechanism, an instrument conceived to better support renewable energy projects across the EU, kicked off the process to become a reality in 2022. Member States have until 15 March to express their interest in participating, with two different possibilities. Member States can offer territory to physically install renewable energy infrastructure facilities, without providing the financing; or they can contribute financially to a project hosted in a different country and benefit from the clean energy production that will derive from it. The Commission will match the preferences and draft the conditions for the first ever EU-wide tender for renewable energy projects based on the expressed interest. A call for proposal should be launched by the end of 2022 for project promoters to apply with their projects.
 
Read more here and here
 
 
EU Parliament raises focal points for development of EU strategy for offshore renewables
 
During the last European Parliament plenary, the Members of the EP have discussed the Commission's proposal for an EU strategy for offshore renewables. The MEPs have called for an expansion and improvement of the infrastructure, but they have also noticed that cooperation among member states in planning and deployment will be the key factor in this process. Among the main points raised by the MEPs there are a faster process of granting permits for infrastructure, deemed necessary by all MEPs, a better functioning internal market for electricity and an exploitation of maritime energy beyond offshore wind. Wave energy and floating solar installations were mentioned as specific technologies that might require additional focus. Most MEPs also underlined that the proposal need to go "beyond technology", including provisions for the safeguard of jobs, local communities and maritime flora and fauna. Fishing activities will also need to be considered and protecting nature reserves should be of primary attention.
 
Read more here
 
 
EU Parliament's rapporteur for renewable energy directive proposes key amendments to Commission text
 
Germany's MEP Markus Pieper, main rapporteur for the revamped Renewable Energy Directive, has presented last week the main amendments to the current Commission's text proposal. The amendments revolve around a few key topics: permits for wind farms, transport biofuels and green hydrogen. The MEP explains in his amendments that internal market synergies are still far from optimal to address the goals of the Commission, proposing that each EU country prioritise at least two cross-border energy projects related to clean energy supply or transmission (three projects for high energy consumption countries). Permitting processes for wind farms are also indicated as a main obstacle to deployment of wind energy. MEP Piper also proposed to raise the target for renewable fuels and electricity in transport to 20%, while instead lowering hydrogen's targets and introducing low-carbon sources in the hydrogen mix.
 
Read more here
 
 
€110 million to be invested in LIFE projects for environment and climate in 11 EU countries
 
The European Commission announced that an investment of over €110 million will go into LIFE programme-integrated projects for environment and climate protection, following the 2020 call for proposals. The funding will support new major environmental and climate projects in 11 EU countries – Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia. The projects shall support both a green recovery from the pandemic and the European Green Deal's objectives for biodiversity, the realisation of a circular economy and climate neutrality by 2050. Integrated projects allow Member States to pool additional EU funding sources, including agricultural, structural, regional and research funds, and national funding and private sector investments. Altogether, the 11 selected projects are expected to attract more than €10 billion complementary funds.
 
Read more here
 
 
International Energy News
How Egyptian national policies might impact COP27 agenda
 
The Energy Monitor portal published an article discussing energy, climate and human rights policies in Egypt on the backdrop of the upcoming COP27. Evidence shows that the ruling government has nurtured a fossil fuel-dependent energy supply in the country, which is 95% dependent on fossil fuels, making Egypt one of the 11 fastest-growing greenhouse gas emitters worldwide. The authors reflect on what the current situation in Egypt could mean for the world's next big climate conference concluding that "there is a real risk at COP27 of natural gas being promoted as a 'transition fuel' more than ever."
 
Read more here
 
 
Oil majors are massively underdelivering on climate action, new study confirms
 
According to Carbon Brief's portal new study, four of the world's largest oil-and-gas companies are failing to back their words and pledges on climate change with real action and investment. It finds that oil and gas production by Shell, BP, Chevron and ExxonMobil has remained consistently high despite making more climate pledges. In contrast, less than 1% of their capital investment went into low-carbon technologies between 2010-2018.
 
Read more here
 
 
IEA released oil market report analysis calling for increased investment in clean energy
 
The IEA (International Energy Agency) has released its Oil Market Report analysing the causes of oil prices increases during the last months. The report notes that if the persistent gap between OPEC+ countries' output and their target levels continues, market tensions will rise, increasing the chances of more volatility and upward pressure on prices. In the report summary, the IEA highlights that the world is not investing enough to meet its future energy needs. Clean energy and energy efficiency investments need to increase dramatically to reduce the use of oil. In the absence of that, oil demand will continue to rise.
 
Read more here
 
EU Institutional Agenda
Council of the EU
Working Party on the Environment,
22 February
Agenda not available yet.
Working Party on Energy,
22 February
Agenda not available yet.
Working Party on International Environment Issues,
23-24 February
Agenda not available yet.
Working Party on Research,
23 February
Agenda not available yet.
Working Party on Energy,
24 February
Agenda not available yet.
Working Party on the Environment,
24-25 February
Agenda not available yet.
Working Party on Energy,
28 February
Agenda not available yet.
Working Party on the Environment,
28 February
Agenda not available yet.
EERA Events 
#Energy Materials

EM4I 4th Workshop - Sustainability Assessment of materials and technologies for clean energy transition
Location: Online
Information & registration: click here

The 4th of the Energy Materials 4 Innovation (EM4I) workshop will focus on the societal needs and technological advancement, and how to foster new collaborations necessary for achieving the Clean Energy Transition. During the second day of the workshop, invited experts will discuss key topics: LCSA, sustainable manufacturing, critical raw materials, social-economic aspects and 2050 scenarios. 

#FAIR Data

Workshop N°4: “Supporting technologies for FAIRification"
Location: Online
Information & registration: click here

The 4th EERAdata Workshop, organised in a hybrid meeting by AIT in Vienna, will explore and discuss tools to support a FAIR and open database infrastructure. During the workshop, holders and users of databases will be provided with guidance and easy-access tools to improve the level of FAIRness with a hands-on approach. 

#Energy Materials

EM4I 5th Workshop - "Energy materials for harsh operating conditions"
Location: Online
Information & registration: click here

The 5th workshop of Energy Materials For Innovation (EM4I) aims to overview the needs in terms of materials research that are specific for energy technologies where operation occurs under conditions that highly degrade properties of materials. These include high temperature, high pressure, extreme loading, contact with aggressive chemicals and irradiation environments.  

External Events
#Scientific cooperation

Europe in transition: challenges for research and education
Location: Online
Information & registration: click here

Organised within the framework of the French Presidency of the EU Council by the 5 research alliances ANCRE, AVIESAN, ALLIESTENE, ALLEnvi and ATHENA, the objective of this high-level conference is to strengthen trans-European scientific cooperation in order to reflect on the implementation of new interdisciplinary research and training paths.

#Open Science

EnerMaps tool training at World Sustainable Energy Days
Location: Online
Information & registration: click here

EnerMaps, the sister project of the EERAdata project, will organise its final event in partnership with the World Sustainable Energy Days. The event will be the opportunity to present the EnerMaps online tool, its functionalities, the development behind and the barriers to centralising energy data. On the second day, the event will continue with an online training session, made for energy professionals in research and academia, industry and public administrations. 

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