Electricity industry calls for funding for energy research

There is concern within the European electricity industry over the lack of funding to be designated specifically for energy research and development within the draft Sixth Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration which is currently being scrutinised by the European Parliament and member states, according to an electricity industry body.

There is a clear need for “ongoing research funding for some of the more ‘conventional’ energy technologies, such as: making clean coal a commercial reality, not just a technical possibility; advanced gas turbine systems; and different options for carbon sequestration”, Eurelectric President Rolf Bierhoff told the President-in-Office of the Energy Council Oliver Deleuze, and the European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin, as well as MEPs, officials and delegates at a conference on Integration of Renewable Energy Sources and Distribution Generation in Energy Systems, on 25 September.

It should not be a question of choosing between conventional and newer innovative technologies when it comes to allocating research and development funding, said Bierhoff. “All have an impact either on the environment or on supply security, or both,” he said. Problems such as carbon dioxide emissions need to be solved, and new opportunities created, and these needs must guide both the extent of research spending and the focus of research efforts, he pointed out.

According to Bierhoff, it is unclear in the Sixth Framework Programme, which is due to run from 2002 to 2006, how the European Union would address many of the energy research needs in line with the Commission’s Green Paper on Energy Supply Security (requires Adobe Acrobat) and the final report of the European Climate Change Programme.

In reply, Busquin stated that there was scope under the various headings of the Sixth FP to address all vital energy research targets, and that it was important that research “should not be repeated”. However, he conceded that the draft Sixth Framework Programme was rather more difficult to understand than previous Programmes as there was less detail on the specific targets of research efforts.

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