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ENERGY RESEARCH : TROUBLE BREWING OVER FP7 ENERGY BUDGET.

The European Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament are preparing at the beginning of August to launch informal talks in an effort to agree on a budget for the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7), with a dispute brewing regarding the allocation for renewable sources and energy efficiency. The European Parliament approved an amendment on 15 June explicitly demanding that two-thirds of the budget for non-nuclear energy under the FP7 ( 2.2 billion) should be earmarked for R&D on renewables and energy efficiency. In real terms, this would, on an annual basis, represent a quarter of the budget for energy, 63% being channelled towards the nuclear sector. The European Commission did not retain this amendment in its amended proposal tabled on 28 June. Though it "fully shares" Parliament's objective of actively supporting these activities, it feels "this is not the best means of doing so". DG Research is more inclined to leave projects to compete to ensure that only the best projects attract EU funding. It proposes a "wide portfolio" approach ensuring maximum flexibility.

This line has caused some irritation in the renewables industry, with the European Wind Energy Association notably calling for "greater transparency". The Group's Chairman, Christian Kjaer, argues that "if the Commission is capable of creating specific budget lines for coal and nuclear power, it should also be able to do so in respect of renewables". Renewables and energy efficiency are banded together with hydrogen and fuel cells, carbon capture/storage and clean coal technology under the heading "sustainable energy" activities, with the allocation of funding left to the discretion of the Commission's Research DG.

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Publication:Europe Energy
Date:Jul 26, 2006
Words:274
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