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MEPs back fresh EU money for low-carbon technologies

A Parliament resolution, approved on Thursday, welcomes plans to step up EU funding for developing innovative low-carbon technologies to help cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020. MEPs want the EU funding to develop applications for these technologies over the next 10 years, but also acknowledge the need of additional private, public and EU resources to hit the target. The text, tabled by the S&D, ALDE and Greens/EFA groups, was approved with 444 votes in favour, 88 against and 32 abstentions.

Parliament welcomes the European Commission's Strategic Energy Technology (SET) plans for research into clean, sustainable and efficient low-carbon energy technologies to meet energy and climate goals for 2020. However, MEPs call for more public and private investment, and fresh EU money, to develop these technologies. MEPs say that to fund the work properly would require an annual EU budget contribution of at least €2 billion, and that the Council and the Commission should make this a priority in the mid-term review of the EU's current financial perspectives.

Parliament considers it "absolutely necessary" to use €300 million in Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) reserves to support carbon capture and storage. MEPs also say that the European Investment Bank should give priority to projects that can realistically be expected to enhance the viability of new technology demonstration, such as smart grids and mini hydro power plants. Investing in low-carbon technologies can create jobs, new markets and new revenue, enhance the EU's overall economic competitiveness, strengthen the security of its energy supplies and reduce its energy dependency, says the resolution.

The European Parliament advocates more research, less red tape, and support for SMEs. Given that small and medium-sized enterprises drive development of many sustainable low-carbon technologies, their access to public grants and loans should be as trouble-free as possible, add MEPs. Moreover, the Parliament urges the Commission to create the right conditions and a favourable regulatory framework for public-private partnerships and ensure that technology manufacturers can apply directly for SET-Plan funding, not just as members of consortia with energy utilities, says the resolution.

SET-Plan

The Commission's October 2009 Communication on Investing in the Development of Low Carbon Technologies (SET-Plan) and Technology Roadmaps 2010-2020 estimate the public and private investment needed in six European industrial initiatives over the next 10 years as follows:

- €6 billion for wind energy,
- €16 billion for solar energy,
- €2 billion for electricity networks,
- €9 billion for bio-energy,
- €13 billion for carbon capture and storage (CCS),
- €7 billion for nuclear fission and
- €5 billion for the Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) on fuel cells and hydrogen.

Communication on Investing in the Development of Low Carbon Technologies (SET-Plan)

Texts adopted at the Parliament sitting on 11 March

 


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