Lobbying hard in Brussels

Keeping up its determined lobbying for more spending on wind energy research and development (R&D), the European Wind Energy Association last month repeated its call for a specific budget line for renewable energy in Europe's seventh Framework Program (FP7), with a separate "chapter" for wind. Under the EU's current R&D program, FP6, renewables are lumped in with so-called "sustainable" energy, such as clean coal, CO2 sequestration and hydrogen, which is only an energy carrier.

"A separate budget line for genuinely renewables technology is a must," says EWEA's Corin Millais. "The relatively small pot of funds dedicated to renewable energy must not be encroached upon by conventional technologies, which receive very significant funding already." Millais further points out that wind energy R&D was cut from EUR 70 million in FP5 to just EUR 24 million in FP6. In comparison, nuclear receives about eighteen times, EUR 1.26 billion, more than wind.

EWEA repeats its call for a European technology platform specifically for wind energy, an initiative the European Parliament is also backing. Technology platforms are a new mechanism intended to channel EU and national European R&D investment into sectors where the EU has a competitive advantage, says EWEA. In 2004, EU companies supplied 80% of the wind capacity installed world-wide.

The competition among industries for slices of the FP7 cake is intensifying in Brussels in the run-up to final budget allocations. The program is set to run from 2007 to 2013.

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