The third phase of the Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (CF SEDSS III) will run over a period of four years from 1 October 2019 until 30 September 2023. The project will continue pursuing in Phase III the implementation of the EU legal framework on energy and will reaffirm the Consultation Forum as the appropriate vehicle to share information and best practices on improving energy efficiency and buildings performance, utilising renewable energy sources in the defence sector, and increasing the resilience of defence-related critical energy infrastructure, including security of supply aspects. It will also aim at preparing the defence sector for new technologies such as digitalisation, artificial intelligence, e-mobility and other innovative energy systems.
The progress of the Consultation Forum was acknowledged in the June 2019 Council Conclusions on Security and Defence in the context of the EU Global Strategy where the Council of the EU (Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Defence) welcomed all progress achieved in the context of the Consultation Forum and expressed expectations for the next phase. The Council also invited the EU Member States, the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission and the European Defence Agency (EDA) “to develop concrete solutions within the defence sector for safe and sustainable energy models…” and call “for strengthening cooperation in tackling energy security challenges, including via energy efficiency, renewable energy solutions and the protection of critical energy infrastructure”.
On 19 September 2019, the Chief Executive of EDA, Jorge Domecq, and the European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, Miguel Arias Cañete, announced the launch of the third phase. The project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The grant agreement is between EASME and EDA.
The purpose of Phase III will be to further explore the benefits that could be enabled in the defence and security sector from the implementation of the European Commission’s Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), Renewable Energy Directive (RED), Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), Directive on European Critical Infrastructures (ECI), Gas security of supply and risk preparedness (electricity) regulations, and when relevant, the overarching Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action.
The third phase will be highly relevant to the 2018-2020 Horizon 2020 work programme on Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy, given the focus of the work on:
- energy efficiency, particularly in buildings;
- renewable energy and alternative fuels;
- protection of defence-related critical energy infrastructure (PCEI); and
- cross-cutting energy-related topics (energy management policies and strategies, innovative energy technologies, and identification of financing mechanisms and other eligible funding instruments).
Building on the achievements of the previous phases, the third phase of the Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (CF SEDSS III) will also have the potential to generate relevant defence energy-related projects, which could be possibly funded by the European Union (EU) or other applicable mechanisms and instruments.
To address the emerging and future challenges in the field of energy as well as to meet the expectations of the Council of the EU and the Ministries of Defence, Phase III will identify innovative and smart energy technologies such as intelligent metering system, blockchain, artificial intelligence, digitalisation, big data, sensors, energy management networks, cybersecurity, which could help lower the carbon footprint and increase the energy autonomy and operational resilience of the armed forces.
Furthermore, emphasis will be given to bringing closer the energy and defence communities, and when appropriate, industry, research technology organisation, and academia. Thematic workshops will be organised to enable more in-depth consideration of project development and upscaling in defence. Particularly, Phase III will introduce a novel model of activities ranging from plenary conferences, including energy technology events and joint defence-energy meetings, to thematic or regional workshops and table-top exercises.
Overall, Phase III is expected to present the defence and security sector with an economic, operational, and strategic opportunity to reduce reliance on fossil fuel and natural gas, progressively minimise energy costs and carbon footprint, and enhance the operational effectiveness and energy resilience.
The Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (CF SEDSS) is a European Commission funded initiative managed by the EDA. The first Phase took place from October 2015 to October 2017. The second Phase run from October 2017 to August 2019. It aims at bringing together experts from the defence and energy sectors to share information and best practices on improving energy management, energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy as well increasing the protection and resilience of defence energy-related critical infrastructures.
While EDA’s remit does not include enforcing action of MoDs, it will work in a way to facilitate and enable the development or adoption of the necessary energy-related measures or plans. The Agency, with the support of the Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME) and the European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER), will provide technical advice and guidance to EU MoDs to reach sustainable energy objectives.