Renewable energy budgets saved

European energy ministers have agreed that renewable energy is a priority spending area and that the funding levels of the EU Altener and Save programs must be retained, if possible, reports news service ENDS Environment Daily. Other energy programs were not so favoured. Ministers have proposed cutting the proposed overall spending levels for the EU's fifth Framework Program for research and development from ECU 213 million a year to ECU 170 million. Altener and Save were untouched, retaining their budgets of ECU 74 million and ECU 64 million, respectively. The four programs which lost out were in the fields of clean solid fuel technologies, international co-operation in the energy sector, economic forecasts and nuclear energy, writes ENDS. The European Parliament is soon expected to give its opinion on the Altener and Save programs.