The progress of the Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (CF SEDSS) 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 and expressed expectations for the next phase.
The Council 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 called “for strengthening cooperation in tackling energy security challenges, including via energy efficiency, renewable energy solutions and the protection of critical energy infrastructure”.
Building on such call as well as on the achievements of the first (2015-2017) and second (2017-2019) phases of the Consultation Forum, the third phase was launched on 1st October 2019. The project is funded by the European Union’s (EU) horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and will run over a period of four years until 30 September 2023.
The Consultation Forum 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. It will also address the cross-cutting thematic areas on energy management and policy, energy innovative technologies and will identify the applicable funding or financing instruments for defence energy-related topics. Furthermore, the Forum will enable the generation of defence energy-related project ideas, leading to further collaborative projects among Member States.
Phase III will provide an opportunity 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), Regulation on Security of Gas Supply; Regulation of Risk Preparedness in the Electricity Sector, and when relevant, the Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action. By doing so, the third phase will be highly relevant to the 2018-2020 Horizon 2020 work programme on Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy.
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. This Forum was established from scratch with the primary scope to create a defence energy-related community to share information, knowledge and best practices on improving energy management, increasing energy efficiency and buildings performance, utilising renewable energy sources in the defence sector and enhancing the resilience of defence-related critical energy infrastructure. To address these objectives, and with the support of the European Commission, EDA has implemented two phases: the first phase took place from October 2015 to October 2017 and the second one held from October 2017 to August 2019. Building on the successful outcome of these two phases and to address emerging and future challenges in the field of energy, EDA and the European Commission launched on 1st October 2019 the third phase, which will run over a period of four years until 30 September 2023. CF SEDSS phase III is funded by the European Union’s (EU) horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement No. 882171.
While EDA’s remit does not include enforcing action of EU Ministries of Defence (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 European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER) and Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME) will provide technical advice and guidance to MoDs and other defence energy-related stakeholders to reach sustainable energy objectives.