The Slovenia Times

EU's SET Plan discussed at Bled conference

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Bled - A sustainable energy transition, and the role of innovation and investment to enhance it, is in the focus of a two-day conference on the EU's SET Plan which began in a hybrid format in the town of Bled on Thursday, organised by the Slovenian Ministry of Infrastructure and the European Commission.

The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) is designed to boost the transition towards a climate neutral energy system through the development of low-carbon technologies in a fast and cost-competitive way.

The Research and Innovation to Deliver a Just and Sustainable Energy Transition conference aims to contribute to the ongoing debates on climate and energy policies and on investment of EU member states to make their economies recover post-Covid. The idea is to support the reforms needed to achieve a climate-neutral economy.

"We all have the same goal: to make the EU carbon-free and climate neutral by 2050 at the latest. We must not fool ourselves that this is far away. In terms of energy and climate, 2030 is today and 2050 will be tomorrow," Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said in his introductory address.

He believes the key guideline in achieving the goals is to put people at the forefront: "We must not forget anyone and we will not leave anyone behind."

Vrtovec also said that "part of the solution to these extremely complex challenges will have to be found based on research and innovation in energy, and this is where the SET Plan conferences so far have been very useful".

Education and Science Minister Simona Kustec said everything that is planned must be done for the people and nature. She also urged integrating into the discussions on the environment young generations, the ones for which solutions are being sought.

Several speakers, including EU commissioners Kadri Simson and Mariya Gabriel, who joined in via video call, said it was key to ensure more R&D investment, not only from national budgets but also from EU programmes and the private sector.

The SET Plan conferences are a meeting point of stakeholders from energy, and research and innovation held once a year in an EU presiding country. Apart from discussions, they feature accompanying events, best practice presentations and exhibitions.

The Bled conference is the 15th so far, and revolves around four themes: energy to enable the transition, energy for a sustainable and inclusive society, energy for smart industrial growth, and the future of the SET Plan.


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