Editorial: The role of Energy Efficiency in the Energy Union
During the next College of Members’ meeting, which is going to take place in Bolzano at EURAC premises, on 31st May and 1st June 2016, its technical workshop will be dedicated to energy efficiency.
The EU has set itself a 20% energy savings target by 2020 when compared to the projected use of energy in 2020. At an EU summit in October 2014, EU countries agreed on a new energy efficiency target of 27% or greater by 2030. The European Commission had proposed 30% in its Energy Efficiency Communication.
The workshop will take stock of the main projects related to energy efficiency in buildings and in industry with a view to discussing amongst experts the next research focus.
Currently, EUREC brings together 45 research centres, renowned for their expertise in the field of renewable energy, representing the majority of EU Member States. A very large part of ongoing renewable energy research in Europe is taking place at EUREC member organisations.
To ensure that EUREC grows in a controlled way towards a representative association of high quality research centres, a series of criteria for new Members has been defined:
Only single research entities can be accepted, not complete universities
The research facilities should be visited by a EUREC delegation
The research group should have at least 10 full-time equivalent research staff active in the field of renewable research
The research group should demonstrate its stability, such as by having existed in the same form for at least five years, or by having a substantial research capacity and output, as supported by proposing members, and endorsed by the College of Members
The HERCULES project (grant Nr. 608489: 11/2013 – 10/2016) is the largest still running PF7 EU project on the development of crystalline silicon industrial high efficiency cell and module processes. The concept proposed by the HERCULES is to develop innovative n-type monocrystalline silicon (c-Si) device structures based on back-contact solar cells with alternative junction formation, as well as related structures including hybrid concepts (homo-heterojunction). These concepts are the most promising silicon-based technologies to reach ultra-high efficiencies with industrially relevant processes. The HERCULES strategy is to transfer the developed processes to the industrial scale by considering all major cost drivers of the entire manufacturing process chain of modules. The concepts developed in HERCULES will demonstrate 25% efficiency at cell level, for above 340 Wp modules produced in the partners pilot-lines, and pave the way to ultra-high efficiencies for the next generation of c-Si based solar cells devices.
The survey asks, "Which elements of the current reporting obligations in the field of energy research and innovation do you consider indispensable?” It refers to the indicators referred to in the SET Plan Communication of 15 Sept 2015 (C(2015) 6317, p9).
The ‘indispensable’ element is the public spending by each Member State on R&I in energy. This figure has political significance, in part because the International Energy Agency has tracked it for decades. COP21’s Mission Innovation also tracks it in its signatory countries. (EUREC recognises that output-related measures are needed, too.)