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The electricity sector in Europe is experiencing a strong evolution, characterised by many factors, such as the electricity market liberalisation, the strong dependence of EU energy consumption on import of combustibles, the growing focus on environment, the wide diffusion of information and communication systems and the progressive creation of the digital society and the enlargement of Europe.
In this context, Research and Technology Development (RTD) programmes are facing a general trend of fund reduction and the electricity operators are focusing their research efforts on short term objectives aimed at increasing their competitiveness, rather then on long term objectives able to significantly innovate the electricity sector. This calls for appropriate strategies and policies in the planning, selection and prioritization of the research needs and funding.
Several projects and initiatives are active at National, European and International levels aimed at setting up Road Maps for the development of the energy systems in different parts of the world and some of them are specifically devoted to point out the RTD needs in the near or mid-term future. The ERMInE project (a Co-ordination Action) intended to contribute to the definition of the European RTD strategies, by providing a view of the recent and present scenario of the electricity RTD efforts and specific needs of the European electricity sector in the next 20-25 years. The boundaries taken into account by the project have been: generation, transmission and distribution, end-use (industry, residential, tertiary).
They also included the RTD activities related to the actions to be undertaken to limit the environmental burden and the activities linked with the setting up of the electricity markets and the connected regulations.
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