Commissioner Piebalgs supports research on Solar Thermal Energy

May 31, 2006

Brussels, 30 May 2006

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs welcomes today the official launch of the European Solar Thermal Technology Platform, an initiative of the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation to facilitate the development of future research and development in this sector. The platform will be an instrument for the exchange of expertise and knowledge and will ensure that new generations of products and processes are brought to the market.

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs welcomed the initiative saying “The solar thermal sector can play an important role in the future and contribute to the development of a sustainable EU energy scheme. If our aim is to secure the competitiveness of our industry, the EU needs to maintain a high level of innovative products. In this sense, it is essential that various actors in the market cooperate in establishing future perspectives, while the full commitment of private industry can only help us fulfil the objectives of the Lisbon strategy”.

Solar Thermal Energy uses solar radiation to produce heat which can later be used for domestic water heating, space heating or drying. Solar Thermal energy can also be used for cooling. Although EU industry is the world leader in solar thermal technology, the EU solar thermal market currently represents only about 10% of the global market share.

The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation is the umbrella of national solar thermal associations and includes over 700 members Europe-wide. The European Commission welcomed the platform by giving support to its secretariat through a Specific Supporting Action under the 6th Framework Programme. The results of this collaboration will help the Commission elaborate the future Framework Programme 7 strategic areas for research and development in order to ensure the full development of the EU solar market.

European Technology Platforms are “bottom–up” initiatives launched by the industry. They aim at bringing together all stakeholders and interested parties in a particular sector or technology area. Those platforms exist already for photovoltaic energy, smart grids, hydrogen and fuel cells, biofuels and clean coal. The objective of European Technology Platforms (ETP) is to develop and implement a common vision for the development of a certain sector or technology area. This includes the drafting of a comprehensive long-term programme for research and technological development in the area of the technology platform. Where the Commission shares the view that an area has adequate potential and that a technology platform would provide European added value for the development of the sector concerned, the Commission supports the initiative.

Item source: IP/06/696 Date: 30/05/2006

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