Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

EU Innovation Funding
60David Nikel

David NikelJanuary 8, 2014

EU Launches Horizon 2020 Innovation Fund

The European Commission has presented calls for projects under Horizon 2020 – a €15 billion fund aimed at building Europe’s knowledge-driven economy and tackling issues that will make a difference to people’s lives.

A grand plan indeed.

Substantial support will be provided for innovation activities directly aiming at producing plans and arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes or services. There are three initial channels of funding for 2014:

Excellent Science

Around €3 billion, including €1.7 billion for grants from the European Research Council for top scientists and €800 million for Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships for younger researchers.

Industrial Leadership

€1.8 billion to support Europe’s industrial leadership in areas like ICT, nanotechnologies, advanced manufacturing, robotics, biotechnologies and space. Examples of the rising importance of biotechnology are in industrial applications including biopharmaceuticals, food and feed production and bio-chemicals, of which the market share of the latter is estimated to increase by up to 12% – 20% of chemical production by 2015.

Societal Challenges

€2.8 billion for innovative projects addressing Horizon 2020’s seven societal challenges, broadly: health; agriculture, maritime and bioeconomy; energy; transport; climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials; reflective societies; and security. I imagine energy projects will be particularly welcome, with the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 still in play.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, introduces the program:

“The European Commission’s proposal for Horizon 2020 is part of the drive to create new growth and jobs in Europe. It’s an investment in research and innovation to support three major objectives: excellent science, competitive industries, and a better society. Horizon 2020 focuses more than ever on bringing great ideas to the market. It provides opportunities for business and it changes peoples lives for the better.”

“For the first time Horizon 2020 is bringing together all of the EU funding for research in innovation under one single program, and at the same time it’s drastically cutting the red tape so it’s attracting more top researchers and enterprises. I’ve said many times we have an innovation emergency in Europe and Horizon 2020 is our response to that emergency.”

Those words are all well and good, but will the money be spent in existing research environments, or will it be used to boost small businesses who are taking the biggest risks? I hope to see the latter, and Horizon 2020 promises at least €3 billion will be allocated to SMEs, particularly in the Societal Challenges fund, although the focus is very much on collaborative projects.

Read all about how to get funding from Horizon 2020.

Photo credit: Giampaolo Squarcina

ola og connie hånd i hånd
11Annette Hovdal

Annette HovdalSeptember 13, 2013

Ola Borten Moe and Connie Hedegaard discuss renewable energy at Technoport Talks

“How can Norway play a role in a renewable energy Europe?”  This was the topic discussed  at Technoport Talks earlier this summer. At the panel debate, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Ola Borten Moe, met with EU Commissioner on Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard. Borten Moe stated that the EU should stop subsidizing renewable energy.

During the panel debate between the two, and Professor Asgeir Tomasgard, Director at Centre for Sustainable Energy Studies,  Borten Moe claimed that the EU should not subsidize renewable energy, and rather use public money to develop new technology, like carbon capture and storage technology. This controversial statement was then published in several Norwegian newspapers, and criticized by many. The problem today is not the subsidizing of renewables, but the subsidizing of fossil fuels, some of the critics argued. Hedegaard also pointed out that the subsidization of fossil fuels can be problematic. “Every time the world is spending 1 dollar subsidizing renewables, we are spending 7 dollars subsidizing fossil fuels”, Hedegaard said. Watch the panel debate bellow:

The background for the panel debate was this question: How can Norway play a role in a renewable energy Europe? The EU has high ambitions on energy and climate change. The EU wants to increase the share of renewable energy to 20 % by 2020. However, due to the variability of wind and solar power, there will be variations in power generation, and the EU therefore needs more balancing capacity to ensure a stable and reliable power supply. Norway with its hydropower and natural gas can play a role here.

Click here to hear our speakers from research and industry talk about Norway’s role in the EU’s energy mix.

The topic, “Norway’s role in a renewable energy Europe”, is  highly discussed nowadays. In Oslo, there will be a mini-conference (25 September) on this.

However, what is the popular view on Norway as a “green battery” to Europe? If you haven’t already –  do read Henrik Karlstrøm’s guest blog post on the subject. Henrik is presenting new research on people in Norway’s view on the subject.  

 

 

Marchlyn Resovoir
1Henrik Karlstrøm

Henrik KarlstrømSeptember 10, 2013

What do people think about Norway as Europe’s “green battery”?

The politics of Norway’s energy supply is not something that many people often think a lot about. However, in recent months a discussion about whether Norway should increase its production of renewable energy, and extend more cables to neighbouring countries to become Europe’s “green battery”, has started. Here, I will try to discuss the issue of an increased power exchange with the rest of Europe, by looking at what average electricity users think about these questions.

But first, what is the idea behind the “green battery”? Well, Europe is rapidly increasing its adoption of renewable energy, with Denmark now being 40 % renewable, and Germany approaching 20 %. This is mostly good news, as this power replaces more polluting sources of electricity, or at least keeps some coal or gas plants from being built. However, renewable energy is less stable than fossil fuel energy, because it relies more directly on the current weather conditions. When it is windy, Spain can get two thirds of its power from wind turbines, but when it is not it needs to get power from somewhere else.

This is where Norway and the idea of a green battery come in. With its large supply of hydropower, which is stable, and can be turned on or off in a matter of minutes, Norway is an ideal candidate to act as a regulating instance in an electricity grid where renewables is an increasing part of the mix. It is also a potential source of income for Norwegian electricity companies and the Norwegian municipalities that mostly own these utilities, as well as the Norwegian state, which gets more tax revenue from it.

Because of its beneficial environmental effects, several environmental organisations, such as Zero and Bellona, strongly support the adoption of more renewables in the Norwegian energy mix. They are lobbying for increased power exchange with other European countries. Local governments in the south of Norway (link in Norwegian) have also voiced support for the scheme, wishing to benefit from increased exports.

Continue Reading

photo by: ohefin