EU calls for trebling of green energy research funding

Renewables, nuclear, carbon capture and smart cities all set to benefit as EU launches campaign to boost energy funding to €8bn a year.

The EU will this week launch a campaign to treble public and private-sector funding for energy research to €8bn (£7.35bn), as part of its wider efforts to cut carbon emissions 80 per cent by 2050.

According to reports from the Reuters news agency, European Commission officials will tomorrow release a major new study detailing the level of additional funding required to ensure the EU meets its goal of cutting emissions 20 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050.

The study, a draft of which has been obtained by Reuters, is expected to warn that a trebling in annual energy research funding is required if the EU is to compete with the US and Japan in the fast-expanding global clean-tech market.

It will recommend that the solar power industry receives an additional €16bn over the next decade, while a further €6bn should be provided for wind energy and €9bn for biomass and waste energy.

In addition, carbon capture and storage projects should receive €13bn up to 2020, the nuclear industry should increase research investment by €7bn, and €11bn should be earmarked for the development of 30 highly energy efficient smart cities.

The report will not address how governments and businesses should finance such ambitious plans, but it will argue that the acceleration of low-carbon research projects is essential to both the EU’s carbon emission targets and its long-term economic competitiveness.

An unnamed EU official told Reuters that the bloc will suffer economically if it fails to increase investment in low carbon R&D. “We know that low-carbon technology will one day become cost-competitive with fossil fuels, and the question then is whether the EU will be an importer or an exporter of that technology,” he said. “We have to be in pole position.”

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