TAIEX REGIO PEER 2 PEER - A tool bringing together Cohesion Policy practitioners
Designed to share expertise between bodies managing Cohesion Fund and ERDF funding, it helps public officials to exchange knowledge, good practice and practical solutions to concrete problems thus improving their administrative capacity and ensuring better results for the EU investments.
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This workshop, to be held in Seville on the 19th and 20th of March 2019, is organised within the scope of the REGIO Communities of Practitioners. It will bring together state aid practitioners from several EU countries to discuss on the application of state aid rules when implementing support measures to energy-related projects with ESIF.
Energy and the Smart Specialisation Platform on Energy (S3PEnergy)
Energy is a topic with high interest amongst the Member States and regions registered in the S3 Platform. These strategies set priorities at national and regional levels to build competitive advantage by developing and matching research and innovation (R&I) own strengths with business needs, to address emerging opportunities and market developments in a coherent manner, while avoiding duplication and fragmentation of efforts. They may take the form of, or are included in, a national or a regional R&I strategic policy framework. In this context, there is an emerging need to align innovation roadmaps across EU policies and territories. There is also an upcoming challenge in accompanying the implementation of innovation strategies with the appropriate methodological development and related tools, with regard namely to benchmarking, trans-national cooperation and mutual learning.
The Smart Specialisation Platform on Energy (S3PEnergy) is the space where MS, regions and community members receive support for the optimal and effective uptake of Cohesion Funds for sustainable energy.
What is the S3PEnergy about?
- to support the implementation of the smart specialisation strategies of those regions/countries that have chosen energy-related priorities in their S3 (under Thematic Objective 1), in particular as regards energy innovation activities at (sub)national, regional and local levels.
- to assist countries in the uptake of the Cohesion Policy funding opportunities for energy (under TO 4 and 7e);
The S3PEnergy will contribute the EU energy policy priorities by facilitating partnerships between EU regions that have identified renewable energy technologies and innovative energy solutions as their smart specialisation priorities and by promoting alignment between local, regional, national and European activities on energy sustainability, competitiveness and security of supply.
The S3PEnergy is addressing energy issues as part of the European efforts to achieve a shared vision on knowledge-based energy policy in regions and to encourage the financing of viable investments in Europe in line with the EU's Energy Union strategy and the EU Plan in strategic investments in jobs and growth, the latter to be realised through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). Numerous activities foreseen in the EU's Energy Union five dimensions including a fully-integrated internal energy market, supply security, energy efficiency, emissions' reduction and research and innovation in low-carbon technologies need to be put in practice at local or regional level. Despite these activities rely on local potential they need to be also consistent with EU broad energy policy objectives; therefore the S3PEnergy will step-in to assure the developments in a coherent manner.
The ultimate objective of the S3PEnergy is to contribute to the shift towards a low carbon economy by 2050 and to respond to some of the societal challenges identified in the EU 2020 Strategy. The EU has set out plans for a new climate and energy policy framework. Europe is determined to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % by 2030 compared to 1990. Respectively, it has committed itself to achieve at least 27 % share of renewables. Hence, there is a clear link between innovation and the EU's energy and climate targets.
Who is involved in S3PEnergy?
The activities are being carried out by JRC (Directorates B in Seville and C in Petten), in close collaboration with DG REGIO and DG ENER.
The S3PEnergy supports policy-makers, authorities and stakeholders involved in energy and R&I policies and Cohesion Policy funding.
The work further allow DGs JRC, REGIO and ENER to be better informed of the developments and challenges in the MS and regions.
Which activities are promoted by the S3PEnergy?
The S3PEnergy collaborates with interested EU regions and countries to: analyse current energy priorities and policies; identify common challenges and possible solutions; support bottom-up transregional cooperation and the creation of EU-wide ecosystems for R&I in energy; prepare thematic papers and workshops; carry out active outreach activities to build and disseminate knowledge on the possibilities for investing in energy projects from the Cohesion Policy funds; etc.
The ultimate goal is to set up a collaborative framework which will accelerate the development and deployment of innovative low carbon technologies in the EU in the framework of Smart Specialisation.
The S3PEnergy supports the regional stakeholders in strengthening their capacity to deliver smart specialisation in Energy, both in and between regions.
Good efforts have been made in recent years in building a large number of interregional partnerships, with the ultimate goal to establish European ecosystems for interregional collaboration in regions and countries that share similar energy priorities in their S3.
Interregional collaboration helps these regions to combine complementary strengths and research capacities, align R&I efforts and agendas in the context of S3, overcome the lack of critical mass and fragmentation, gain better access to the global value chains and foster co-investment in new growth areas across the EU.
The S3PEnergy interregional partnerships have been focusing in mapping regional ambitions and challenges and matching identified value chains of partners across the regions, based on complementarities. The S3PEnergy team supports the regions with the identification of common interests and proactive match-making, methodological guidance, organisation of thematic seminars, setting up of connections with other initiatives or EC services related to their field of activity, as well as with logistic support for the functioning of the partnerships.
Energy in Cohesion Policy
The S3PEnergy is addressing energy issues as part of the European efforts to achieve a shared vision on knowledge-based energy policy in regions. Activities initiated at local or regional level should be developed in a more coherent manner: although they rely on local potential, they have to be also consistent with EU broad energy policy objectives. The goal is to better align local and regional activities through the identification of the technologies and innovative solutions that contribute to the EU energy policy priorities. These priorities include sustainability, competitiveness and security of supply.
Novel Funding Opportunities
During the programming period 2014–2020, EU Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) play an essential role in promoting innovation in the field of energy, developing ICT applications in the field of energy, supporting SMEs and boosting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors. Around € 40 billion will be allocated by the Cohesion Policy funds (ERDF, ESF and CF) to these objectives in the energy field (TO4). They include interventions in energy efficiency, renewable energy, smart distribution grids and sustainable urban mobility, as well as R&I in these areas, in complementarity with Horizon 2020.
Cohesion Policy is thus making an increasingly important contribution towards EU challenges for clean, efficient and secure supply of energy. The allocated amounts for low-carbon economy represent more than a doubling of funding compared to the previous programming period. Although Cohesion Policy funds will offer significant opportunities, their substantial extension will also represent an important challenge in terms of the readiness in the Member States and regions for their uptake. The absorption capacity of regions will become an issue. Moreover, the combination of Cohesion Policy funds with research financing, like Horizon 2020, will require learning and creative thinking. Finally, it is important to make sure that EU funding will leverage additional national public and private co-financing.
A European Energy Union will ensure secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy for citizens and businesses. Using energy more wisely and fighting climate change is not only an investment in our children's future, it will also create new jobs and growth. Important groundwork has already been done: we have a policy framework for energy and climate for 2030, an energy security strategy is in place, and an integrated energy market for all EU countries is closer than ever before.
S3 Working Paper Series No. 16/2018 NAUWELAERS Claire; SEIGNEUR Isabelle; GÓMEZ PRIETO Javier.
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