European Union to promote research in clean energy

The European Commission on Thursday proposed a plan to promote research that will liberate the European Union's (EU's) potential for clean energy.

It is proposed that the creation of a European energy research alliance to ensure much greater cooperation among energy research organizations as well as improved planning and foresight at European level for energy infrastructure and systems.

The commission clearly signaled the need for increased funding, and will present its ideas on financing low-carbon technologies during 2008.

It will set up an information system to ensure a clear picture of energy technologies across Europe and establish a process with member states so that energy technology research can be planned together.

A European energy technology summit will be called in 2009 to review progress.

Research and innovation in energy technology are vital in meeting the EU's ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60percent to 80 percent by 2050, said the commission, the executive body of the EU.

Unless there is a major change in the EU's approach to such technologies, there is a serious risk that these objectives will not be met, or the technology to do so will come from outside the EU, it warned.

The energy innovation process, from initial conception to market penetration, suffers from structural weaknesses. There is neither a natural market appetite nor a readily discernible short-term business benefit for such technologies.

In addition, public energy research budgets in the EU member states have generally declined substantially since the 1980s, said the commission.

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