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The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) called for an increase in wind energy R&D spending under the EU’s 7th Framework Programme for research and development (FP7). It also called for the establishment of a Wind Energy Technology Platform in order to continue its track record of cost reductions and to maintain European technology leadership in wind energy. Support for wind energy R&D under the current EU framework programme, FP6, was severely restricted, and funding for long-term research was at first completely removed. Political support for a Wind Energy Technology Platform has been expressed by the Energy Council, the informal Competitiveness Council and in the Member States’ Egmond Declaration from last year’s EU Policy Workshop on Development of Offshore Wind Energy. In December 2004, EU Energy Commissioner Piebalgs stated that the Commission is concerned about the decreasing trend of R&D spending in the field of renewable energy sources over the last 20 years both at the national and European levels. If this trend is not reversed by a substantial increase of funding in the future, it could hamper the progress of renewable energies in the EU energy mix.
Specifically, the EWEA called for:
1) The establishment of a Wind Energy Technology Platform that would address R&D as well as policy issues related to market development, such as overcoming grid barriers and administrative barriers in order to reap further economies of scale and bring down costs. The industry requests the assistance of the European Commission as facilitator in this process.
2) Wind energy to be reinstated as a priority research area (following dramatically reduced funding for wind energy R&D under FP6) within a new ‘Renewable Energy Systems’ budget line. This would replace the existing ‘Sustainable Energy Systems’ chapter, which includes so-called ‘clean coal’ technologies and hydrogen and absorbs large parts of the renewable energy R&D funding.
3) Increased transparency. The technologies included in a new ‘Renewable Energy Systems’ budget line should follow the definition of renewables as stated in the Renewables Directive. In order to ensure that adequate funding is dedicated to European wind energy, EWEA calls for the establishment of a separate Chapter for Wind Energy, within this reformed chapter.
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