SYNERGIES PILLAR: SMARTSPEND is going to put booster rockets under the SET Plan. It will bring all the non-nuclear energy sectors together for a focused discussion on their common interests around technology development and nontechnology barriers to the uptake of their technologies. The partners will then talk in parallel to all Implementation Working Groups to ensure that synergies between the ideas, plans and ambitions of each sector are exploited. This will happen at the start, middle and end of the project.
FINANCIAL STRATEGIES PILLAR: SMARTSPEND will also get energy sectors to sit together and discuss their common needs for financing, and compare the way in which each federates its European energy R&I interest and presents it to the Commission.
The messages from discussions under both Pillars will be brought to the attention of high-level government officials (ideally ministers) individually through a concerted campaign in SET Plan country capitals. This is SMARTSPEND’s ‘Roadshow’, in which delegations of 5 relevant company bosses are created, briefed, and sent to the minister to tell their story and share their views.
In addition, the project will ensure all are better aware of the EU’s soft loan scheme for energy innovation, EDP Innovfin, and of ETS Innovation Fund. Both can complement national or European grants. SMARTSPEND will organise a conference, “Access to Risk Finance” for energy technology developers and the managers of public and private financing or funding schemes. Knowledge of the schemes’ opportunities will be spread widely.
The SMARTSPEND consortium has the ideal make-up to reach deep into the community of stakeholders behind each SET Plan energy technology. Leading organisations behind the few technologies not represented in the consortium have sent letters of support to the proposal indicating they will use other funding to join SMARTSPEND’s activities and comment on early versions of its reports.
SMARTSPEND’s mission is “more and better designed public support for energy technology R&I” with a focus on national support. The call text talks of “financial resources […] from industry and national public funds”. Industry funding is like dark matter: it makes up 80% of all spending but not directly observable. The part of industry funding that is addressable with research policy is the part that is spent on projects cofunded with public money. The challenge of increasing private spending here is therefore the challenge of increasing the efficiency, relevance and quantity of public funding.
Implans will be fitted together to produce a coherent body of research (“Synergies Pillar”). This will enable funding bodies (in Member States / Associated Countries and that operate at European level) to create programmes designed for the overall collective interest of all clean energy technologies. Technology will progress faster for the same input of resources as a result. The fitting-together will be done by SMARTSPEND’s carefully chosen organisations who, either as partners or supporters, will involve the constituencies behind each Implan in looking for common ground and shared interests across the research work they have proposed. The project also has a “Financial strategies Pillar”. The consortium will re-assess the form in which the EC has chosen to federate the stakeholder interest behind different energy technologies (e.g. as ETIPs, as contractual Public-Private-Partnerships, Joint Undertakings etc) and find out in each case whether it’s time to try a new form.
The mapping of technical and non-technical synergies between the various SET Plan implementation plans.
The description of existing financing schemes and funding instruments to support the Implan of SET Plan
The organization of the roadshow to ensure an adequate representation
It has a role in other activities to ensure the view of its constituency is represented.