In order to do this, innovation needs to be promoted within the energy sector, as does the adoption of renewable, low carbon solutions and technologies that reduce fuel consumption. This was one of the central themes at the Set-Plan Conference 2014, an energy technology strategy meeting organised by ENEA with the help of the European Commission that was held in Rome in December. The event brought together more than 650 delegates from all over Europe, among them institutional representatives and stakeholders, to define a RoadMap for the European Energy Union.
'The Energy business is being profoundly reshaped by new “disruptive” technologies and, consequently, companies like Enel are investing in innovative areas like big data, new and hybrid renewable energy, distributed generation, energy efficiency and micro generation,' said Enel's Head of Innovation and Sustainability Ernesto Ciorra during a discussion panel on the role of universities in energy strategy.
'The Enel Group is committed to offering outstanding service to our customers in the countries we operate in,' added Ciorra. 'This requires the involvement of our entire value chain, from the integration of renewable energy sources into and the digitalisation of the distribution network to smart cities and new generation and energy efficiency technologies. For that reason, we are committed to best-in-class solutions, adopting an open innovation approach that enables us to get the best from both the company's technological capabilities and the ideas that come from our innovation ecosystem.'
Synergy between the public and private sectors and between industry, universities, research centres and start-ups will be crucial for the creation of an Integrated RoadMap for the European Energy Union, which was unveiled during the Set-Plan Conference. Its aim is to make the most of the around €25 billion being offered by the EU Structural Funds for the 2014-2020 period, as part of the new Framework Programme for Research and for Horizon 2020.
Enel is set to once again play a leading role, following its efforts during the last Seventh Framework Programme, in which it took part in innovative projects in areas related to smart grids, electric mobility and solar thermal technologies for CO2 capture and storage of (CCS), helping Italy use funds in a more effective fashion than the European average.