The energy security of Southeast Europe (SEE) is since mid twentieth century based on local deposits of coal and significant hydro potential, with some nuclear, gas and oil. The coal, mainly lignite, is important employer which sustains whole communities. In the same time, the region is in the process of integration with the European Union and the energy policy is under pressure to realign with EU energy-climate objectives, including opening energy markets, removing subsidies from fossil fuels, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency and increasing the share of renewable energy. Countries which are already EU members (Bulgaria, Greece, Slovenia, Romania) or will soon be (Croatia) have clear and mandated goals to reach by 2020, others are in the process of negotiating, but all will be influenced by the regional energy market gradually being introduced. Most SEE countries maintain low regulated tariffs and while incumbent utilities generally cover their low (historic) costs, they do not support new investment. Higher cost electricity produced from thermal power plants is partially cross-subsidized by hydropower, whose investment was long paid off. Europe-wide market liberalization and build-up of wind energy in the SEE region will bring overproduction of electricity during nights as repetition to what happened in the other markets. Flexible thermal power plants will be in great demand by 2020, while base load blocks of today will be gradually phased out. Seeking techno-economic optimum, the region will be under pressure between following EU’s example of importing gas or continuing with exploiting its coal in a much more efficient and flexible way with revitalization of the existing and introduction of new combustion technologies. The coal communities will need significant investments in order to allow for the transition to new types of jobs. Significant investment in new energy technologies, like energy efficiency and renewables would be beneficial for this process, but region has other priorities for scarce funds. The panel will discuss all these issues trying to put some more light into decisions to be made.
The academia - industry collaboration has been widely recognized as a cornerstone of innovation, and as such, among the best means of achieving economic growth and successfully tackling major societal challenges and problems as for example sustainable development, de-coupling of growth from resources and decarbonisation of economies. On the other side, there has been a gap between academia and industry that is largely a result of a difference in objectives: academia seeks to create new knowledge and disseminate it broadly, while business needs to maximize profit and protect R&D results. The differences that impede the application of academic research capabilities are most strongly noted in matters relating to intellectual property, project management and technology integration.
The aim of this panel is to discuss the ways how academia and industry can partner more successfully, and what measures could facilitate the building of sustainable relationships, streamlining the access to capabilities and connecting of people and skills in these sectors. Practical, concrete and actionable recommendations will be provided based on the positive examples presented by the panelists, such as mobility of researchers in both directions, scientists running industrial projects and successful industry participants in research projects,