4 ways to improve on Research & Innovation in the 2030 National Energy & Climate Plans

Member States need to support and provide a new strategic approach to wind energy Research & Innovation to make the European Union climate-neutral by 2050.

All Members States have now submitted their final National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) to outline climate and energy goals, policies and measures from 2021 to 2030. The aim of the NECPs is to provide investment for the renewable sector to meet the EU-wide 32% renewables target for 2030. However, most Member States shy away from Research & Innovation (R&I) targets in clean energy.

In its first assessment of the final Plans the European Commission laments the severe lack of clear and long-term objectives and funding targets. It states that the “final NECPs fail to pay sufficient attention to R&I needs for delivering on climate and energy objectives” and that “there is an overall decrease in national budgets devoted to R&I in clean energy technologies”.

The European Commission recommends national governments and industrial sectors to adopt a “new strategic approach to clean energy R&I and competitiveness” in support of Europe’s economic recovery and transition to climate neutrality. A better link-up between national and European policies, and funding instruments is essential. The revision of the Strategic Energy Technology plan (SET-Plan) is due in 2021. The Commission will issue country-specific recommendations on all Plans in mid-October 2020 in line with these considerations.

In order to improve R&I measures in the NECPs, Members States must provide clear objectives for climate and energy R&I. This to support and improve necessary technology solutions such as wind energy.

We therefore recommend all Member States to:

  • Identify wind energy as an R&I priority. At present, only eight Member States (Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Spain, France, Lithuania and Portugal) have identified wind energy and its supply chain as a R&I policy priority. The rest does not consider it as a top research priority. Onshore wind is in particular absent.
  • Provide clear long-term R&I budgets and plans. Detailed measures do not exist today. Most NECPs fail to provide clarity on the resources that will be made available by 2030. Just three countries (Austria, Spain and Sweden) have these measures in place.
  • Provide clear commitment to the SET-Plan and partnerships. None of the NECPs refer to the upcoming public-public R&I partnership on the Clean Energy Transition and EU-wide collaboration. They do specify ongoing participation in the SET-Plan, but do not provide any hard commitments for any of the implementation groups. There are no clear synergies between the SET-Plan and the national R&I agendas.
  • Increase the visibility of renewable energy auctions. The industry needs visibility to invest in R&D infrastructure. Only NECPs with well-articulated long-term auction planning with clear volumes, budgets and timelines will attract the private investment needed to deliver on the necessary wind deployment.

Adrian Timbus, Chair of the  ETIPWind Executive Committee said: “The European Commission’s assessment of National Energy and Climate Plans is clear, Research and Innovation needs to be a priority to reach the renewables targets for 2030 and 2050. Members States must hear the wind energy sector’s recommendations to align their R&I policies. The planet can’t wait any longer. We need clear commitments and strong European and national budgets for wind Energy R&I.”

Find out more:

WindEurope NECPS analysis

European Commission assessment