On the 17th January, SMARTSPEND project partners met in Brussels to kick off this 3-year-project. Running until December 2021, SMARTSPEND will explore how investments in R&D in clean energy can be made in a coordinated way and how they may be increased.

Many energy technologies are trying to answer similar R&D questions. There may be ways to sequence research in different sectors to enable its impact to be increased. SMARTSPEND will report on the synergies in different technologies’ R&D plans, and on the ways that sectors should organise themselves to access EU funding efficiently.

SMARTSPEND will organise a major conference to help innovators in clean energy access risk finance from public and private sources. They need money and connections to scale up. To prepare the conference, SMARTSPEND will report the funding needs and identify possible sources.

The funding that national governments provide directly and the funding they provide indirectly through their contributions to the EU’s R&D budget, has been very useful for the development of clean energy technology, says Greg Arrowsmith, policy advisor at EUREC, SMARTSPEND’s scientific coordinator. This project will engage with governments on their future support.

SMARTSPEND’s partners were chosen because of their links to companies and research centres in particular clean energy fields. This will allow the results of the project to be disseminated widely, including: analysis of industry funding needs; a map of funding instruments for energy innovation; recommendations for alternative models of sectoral organisation at EU level, and recommendations on supporting innovation in energy technology.

SMARTSPEND partners and sectors:

  • EUREC – The Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centres: scientific coordinator
  • CIRCE Foundation – Centre of Research for Energy Resources and Consumption): process industry
  • EASE – European Association for Storage of Energy: energy storage
  • ECTP – European Construction Technology Platform: energy-efficient buildings and construction
  • EGEC – European Geothermal Energy Council: geothermal energy
  • EMIRI – Energy Materials Industrial Research Initiative: advanced materials for clean energy and clean mobility technologies
  • ESTELA – European Solar Thermal Electricity Association: Concentrated Solar Power
  • Ocean Energy Europe: Ocean Energy
  • The German Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR): bioenergy
  • WIP Renewable Energies: photovoltaics
  • ZABALA Innovation Consulting: smart energy networks