The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) conference entitled "Research and innovation to deliver a just and sustainable energy transition" is currently underway in Bled. The participants agreed that low-carbon energy based on new technological approaches would be key to the transition to climate neutrality by 2050.
This year's conference, held by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the European Commission, aims to contribute to the ongoing debate on climate and energy policies, the member states' investments in recovery and resilience, and the reforms needed to achieve a climate-neutral economy.
"We all share the same goal: to make the European Union carbon-free and climate-neutral by 2050 at the latest. We should not delude ourselves that this is still a long way off. In energy and climate terms, 2030 is today and 2050 is tomorrow," said Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec in his opening address. According to the minister, the key guiding principle in pursuing these ambitious goals must be to put people first.
We must not forget anyone and we will not leave anyone behind. Part of the solution to these extremely complex challenges will also have to come from research and innovation in the energy sector, and this is where the SET Plan conferences have been very useful.
Jernej VrtovecMinister of Infrastructure
The minister stressed that it was crucial to ensure increased investment in research and innovation, and that, in addition to national budgets, the private sector and the European Union, through its programmes, had an important role to play in this process. "I am pleased to note that the Slovenian Government is paying increasing attention to innovation and education, including in the context of budget appropriations. As well as promoting innovation, it is also important to have comprehensive and quality education," said the minister.
At the end of his address, Minister Vrtovec also looked ahead to the future of the SET Plan conference. He believes that it is essential to ensure the widest and deepest possible cooperation between the member states in research and innovation, which can help to achieve the objectives set out in the Green Deal. "The SET Plan conference is a central mechanism for cooperation between the member states, industry and stakeholders, ensuring synergies between initiatives and providing a platform for coordination. I would like to draw particular attention to the importance of the revised European Research Area, which provides a new cross-sectoral approach to knowledge, data, infrastructure and the exchange of researchers," said the infrastructure minister.
The conference addresses research and innovation in the energy sector, tackling energy-related social problems, the challenges of achieving the European Green Deal and economic recovery, and lays the foundations for the future SET Plan under the Horizon Europe programme.
The conference will be marked by an opening high-level panel entitled "From a technology-centric to a people-centric SET Plan", which will focus on the three main axes fundamental to the energy sector - equity, sustainability and security. The conference is organised around four thematic areas: energy to enable transition, energy for a sustainable and inclusive society, energy for smart industrial growth and the future of the SET Plan. The latter will be chaired by Blaž Košorok, State Secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure.