Clean energies receive EU research funding boost

19 June 2006 – The European Parliament has allocated €2.4bn ($3.0bn) to energy research in a vote on the EU’s next seven-year R&D programme (2007-2013). Some two thirds are allocated to renewable energies and energy savings.

Members of the European Parliament were voting on the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for research (FP7) in Strasbourg on Thursday (15 June). The EU Council of Ministers is expected to give its final approval to the revised package at a meeting in July.

The overall programme is allocated a total budget of €50.5bn, a substantial increase compared to the €16.3bn available under the previous programme, FP6 (2002-2006).

Under the amended programme, some €2.4bn are allocated to research on clean energies, with MEPs securing some €1.6bn to renewable energies and energy efficiency programmes.

Environmentalists commended the Parliament’s move as the Commission did not allocate money to specific energy sources in its original proposal, tabled in April last year. “This is €450m more than the Commission proposed,” said Claude Turmes MEP (Greens/EFA, Luxembourg), who campaigned to obtain more money for clean energies.

In a parallel vote, the Parliament allocated about €4bn to nuclear research and training activities under the European Atomic Energy Community Treaty (Euratom), a separate heading of the EU treaties which dates back to the 1950’s.
“This support for nuclear energy is a shameful own goal by the Parliament, which leaves a threatening legacy for the future,” said Frauke Thies, EU renewable energy policy campaigner at Greenpeace European unit.