Timo Ritonummi: SET Plan Conference aims to solve the climate challenge by promoting low-carbon technologies
The Paris Agreement on climate change sets strict targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Some countries have set even more ambitious targets – Finland, for example, aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2035. In mid-November, the SET Plan Conference will gather energy professionals in Helsinki to discuss energy and low-carbon technologies and how energy research and innovations can contribute to climate-friendly solutions.
The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) includes 28 EU member states as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. The plan’s progress is reviewed annually at SET Plan conferences. The 2019 SET Plan Conference, which will be held at Finlandia Hall in Helsinki on 14 and 15 November, will gather more than 400 representatives of industry, research and administration to consider ways of implementing the EU’s common targets for emissions, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The themes of this year’s conference are industry, renewable energy and nuclear power, electricity grids, future means of propulsion and funding. The conference will be opened by Finland’s Prime Minister Antti Rinne. The panel discussion will include Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), and Mechthild Wörsdörfer, Director of Sustainability, Technology and Outlooks of the International Energy Agency (IEA). The aim of the conference is to be an inclusive and conversational event.
From the viewpoint of emissions reduction, competitiveness and employment, research, development and innovation play an essential role. Climate action must be taken and new technologies deployed at an accelerating pace in order to achieve the targets set. This is a major undertaking, not least because we must keep in mind the cost-effectiveness of the actions. The challenge for Europe is that, although we are good at fundamental research, other countries and regions have pulled ahead of us in the introduction of new technologies.
The purpose of the SET Plan, launched in 2008, is to share experiences, pool together European forces and launch joint projects. The core consists of 14 implementation plans and their implementation. This involves industry, research, the SET Plan countries and the European Commission.