Highlights in 2018
Highlights in 2018


Mission Innovation impact case study

Mission Innovation has:

  • allowed the development of new bilateral agreements of Scientific and Technological Cooperation among international public research centres (i.e. Italy/India Cooperation agreement on Joint application for Strategic key programme for international scientific technological cooperation – RSE – Roorkee);
  • facilitated the interaction among the National Research Centres involved in the development of cleantech technologies;
  • favoured the synergy among the various Ministries involved in research activities support;
  • given substance and resources to the Italian research and innovation (R&I) activities planned under the National Plan for Energy and Climate (NPEC) in the frame of the European Governance of the Energy Union, together with the participation in the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan);
  • focused the attention of all stakeholders on the opportunities that hydrogen can offer as an energy carrier.

MI stimulated this activity through the organization of high-level common initiatives open to the participation of international experts active in the cleantech sector both at public and private level.

The main impacts are related to the development of Smart Grids, the strengthening of international technical cooperation activities within the framework of MI IC1 and the encouragement of national research activities towards research priorities and development jointly identified.

This activity has also highlighted the importance of private sector and investors involvement to accelerate the adoption of innovative smart grid solutions, in particular in the SMEs area where Italy has a well-known leadership.

Update on clean energy innovation policies and strategies

The National Energy Strategy (NES) is the ten-year plan issued by the Ministry of Economic Development (MiSE) and the Ministry of Environment and Protection of Land and Sea (MATTM) on November 2017, which has defined the national energy and climate targets to drive the change of the national energy system towards the targets set by policy makes.

The strategy has been updated and modified by the proposal of the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), that has been presented by MiSE and MATTM to the European Commission in December 2018, according to the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action. The Plan sets out measures to ensure the creation of a secure, sustainable and competitive energy system in order to achieve sustainable growth, promote fundamental role of research and innovation in the cleantech sector and reach the 2030 environmental targets at European level.

The targets for renewable energy systems (RES) are very significant and assume to cover more than 55% of the demand in the electricity field, 33% of the demand in the thermal sector and more than 21% in the transport sector, for an overall target of 30% of the gross energy consumption. Additional efforts are expected in the increase of energy efficiency as well as in the dramatic reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

One of the five dimensions of the NECP proposal is represented by the research, innovation and competitiveness pillar. The dimension includes and refers to the national participation in MI which is committed to double public funds for R&D for clean energy from €222 million in 2013 to €444 million in 2021. The Italian participation in MI therefore constitutes an opportunity for the national research centres and industry to participate in highly innovative research projects in an international cooperation context, by adopting an innovative approach to contribute at the development of clean technologies at global level.

Major innovation initiatives in 2018/19

  • The Ministry of Economic Development is soon to approve the 2019-2021 3 year-plan of the National Electric System Research Fund. The resources allocated will amount to approximately €210 million. The Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), the National Research Council (CNR) and Ricerca sul Sistema Energetico (RSE) are the leading public research institutions involved. A call for proposals for the private sector is also foreseen on a cofunding basis. The activities are aimed at innovating and improving the performance of the system in terms of economics, safety and the environment. The programme’s coverage ranges from system governance to research and development (R&D) and deployment of renewable technologies, smart grids and end-use. It is financed through a specific component of the end-user electricity tariff.
  • The Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) has launched in 2018 the National Energy Technology Cluster which supports research, development and demonstration (RD&D) as well as technology transfer in the Energy Area. The Cluster aims at combining the demand for innovation from the industrial sector with the offer of innovation coming from the research structures of the country, supporting the achievement of the expected targets in terms of research planning from the SET-Plan and the participation in MI. Two project lines are foreseen: the development of innovative technologies for energy transformations and storage, in particular for Concentrated Solar Plants (CSP), and Smart grids. The leading Agency is ENEA with more than 80 stakeholders involved from industries, R&D organisations and universities. The cluster is currently in the start-up phase and the activities to be carried out are being defined.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea has completed in 2018 a €4.7 million call for proposals for funding energy efficiency lighting systems R&D in religious buildings and a €3.7 million funding programme for tests, and R&D activities for the environmental impact of the biofuels emissions in the aviation sector. This funding programme has already been published under the “highlights 2017” Italy section of MI website.
  • In late 2018 the Basilicata Region has launched a tender under the Cohesion Funds worth around €10 million that has been awarded by ENEA, with the final goal to strengthen and expand the integrated platform for biorefinery and green chemistry (PIBE) active at the ENEA Research Centre in Trisaia (Matera).

Major activities in support of the Innovation Challenges in 2018/19

  • MI IC1: Italy as MI IC1 co –lead, hosted the 4th Deep-Dive Workshop IC1 Smart Grid. The workshop was held on 21-23 November 2018 in Rome and gathered IC1 representatives from 17 countries, the European Union, International Organizations and Government representatives, smart grids experts and industry leaders to address smart grids research and innovation and the main challenges towards smart grids full development and deployment.
  • MI IC6: Italy, as part of MI IC6 activity, hosted the “Workshop Mission Innovation: Clean Energy Materials Innovation Challenge: a European Meeting” in Rome on 25 October 2018 bringing together sectorial experts from all over the world.
  • MI IC8: Italy took part actively in the MI “Hydrogen Valleys” workshop organized in Antwerp in March 2019 involving research and development national actors. Moreover, during the workshop Italy presented its national “Hydrogen Valley” located in Bolzano, South Tyrol.

Other Mission Innovation related activity in 2018/19

  • In line with the MI Action Plan goals and IC1’s willingness to involve the private sector, Italy and other IC1 co-leads presented the Smart Grids Innovation Accelerator (SGIA) Platform during the 4th deep-dive workshop hosted in 2018 in Rome and the MI Gathering 2019 in Santiago. The SGIA will serve as a suitable tool to enable sharing technical results and best practices, catalyzing the public and private sectors joint efforts towards IC1 goals to accelerate the development and deployment of innovative smart grids technologies worldwide.
  • Italy will promote the private sector participation in the Public-Private Roundtables and the Innovation Showcase initiatives organized during the MI-4 in Vancouver.