Public funding of Dutch wind power research is likely to see little change in the next budget according to economic affairs minister Hans Wijers. He is calling, however, for "improved returns" on energy research, particularly through greater attention to the renewables sector. Wijers has informed the Dutch parliament that the quality of the country's energy research is "generally good," but that the orientation and organisation of publicly financed research could be improved. In 1997 the Dutch government allocated some NLG 300 million to energy research, of which NLG 200 million was earmarked for increasing energy efficiency and developing renewable energy technologies. Wijers' suggests that this amount will not be substantially increased in September's budget, but that the wind sector can expect to benefit from a further shift in emphasis towards the provision of energy from renewable resources. According to Wijers, research priorities need to be continually revised as the Netherlands "cannot and should not expect to develop everything itself." Consequently, it is important that research is organised so that it has a more direct application to the needs of an industry undergoing liberalisation and endeavouring to meet CO2 reduction targets. A ministry spokesperson confirms that as yet there are no plans to alter the funding of such key research institutes as the Technical University of Delft or ECN's renewable energy division.
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