Increased research funds for renewables coming back

Increased European funding for renewable energy research is back on the table after a committee of members of the European Parliament voted to maintain an emphasis on greener energy technologies under the forthcoming EU research program. The wide-ranging Seventh Framework Research Programme (FP7) runs from 2007 to 2013 with a total budget of EUR 50 billion. In its first reading of legislation for FP7 in June this year, the parliament voted that renewables and energy efficiency should account for two-thirds of the EUR 2.4 billion non-nuclear energy research budget. The Commission, however, ignored the parliament's wishes when it amended its proposal for FP7. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), which had supported the parliament's position, immediately began lobbying for a strengthened budget for renewables. Now the parliament's industry committee has adopted 39 new compromise amendments aimed at shifting some of the research spending back towards the parliament's priorities. The amendments have already been agreed with EU government heads in informal meetings with the council of energy ministers. The compromise concerning the energy budget states that renewables and end-use energy efficiency will account for the "major part" of the energy theme budget under FP7. The amendments were to be put to the vote at the plenary session of Parliament on November 29. If passed, FP7 should enter force in the new year.