The European Parliament is urging the Commission to make available considerable funds to drive the use of less polluting energy technologies as part of the EU’s efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
“From 2009 onwards, at least EUR two billion per annum of the European Union budget” should be spent in support of “new low carbon and zero carbon technology R&D, demonstration and commercialisation,” according to a non-binding report adopted by a large majority of MEPs during their plenary meeting in Strasbourg on 9 July.
But these monies should not be diverted from existing research budgets, such as the Seventh Framework Programme () for research, it adds.
The report, authored by Polish Christian Democrat MEP Jerzy Buzek, sets out the Parliament’s views on the Strategic Energy Technology (SET Plan), proposed by the Commission in November 2007 (see EURACTIV LinksDossier and related coverage).
The SET Plan proposes several measures designed to boost the uptake of ‘low carbon’ energy technologies, including through European industrial initiatives for technologies like wind, solar and bio-energy as well as nuclear fission, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and ‘smart’ electricity grids.
Buzek’s report agrees in broad terms with the technology focus of the SET Plan, but argues that more needs to be done to improve the energy efficiency of the EU’s economy. The report also laments that the Commission’s Communication on the SET Plan did not tackle the tricky issue of how, and by whom, new technology research should be financed.
The Commission is expected to present a separate communication on SET Plan financing in December 2008.
The SET Plan and the Buzek report come against the backdrop of declining EU efforts to boost research and development investments in the energy sector. Unlike in the US and Japan, the flow of funding into new technology research has decreased consistently in Europe since the 1980s. Most European energy firms still spend less than 1% of their net sales on clean technology innovation, according to the Commission.