For the first time ever the European Parliament has voted to create a dedicated budget line for wind energy research and development. Following today's vote, wind energy R&D should have its own 'symbolic' 1 million Euros EU budget line for 2012.
"With this vote, the Parliament recognises that wind energy R&D needs its own budget line. It reinforces the value that investing in wind energy has to society in driving down the costs of a secure, reliable renewable energy system with huge job creation prospects."
"The decision has huge symbolic meaning. It creates a precedent for a dedicated financial allocation to wind energy R&D in the EU's 2014 - 2020 multi-annual financial framework", said Vilma Radvilaite, the European Wind Energy Association's Regulatory Affairs Advisor.
"We hope the EU will now go forward with its support for wind energy R&D and allocate a total of 1.3 billion Euros from 2014 - 2020 in its proposal for the multi-annual financial framework ", Radvilaite said.
During the current multi-annual framework wind energy R&D has been allocated around 20 million Euros under FP7 and 565 million Euros under the European Energy Programme for Recovery.
The 'symbolic' 1 million Euros EU budget line for 2012 for wind energy R&D would be in addition to approximately 24 million Euros that should be allocated to wind energy research in 2012 under the FP7 Programme.
The budget line comes under the EU's strategic energy technology plan (SET-Plan) which aims to support low carbon technologies and was launched in 2007.
As part of the SET-Plan, the European Commission, together with industry and member states, launched in 2010 a 10 year wind energy R&D plan totalling 6 billion Euros called the European Wind Initiative (EWI). The wind industry will finance half, with about 30% coming from the EU budget and the remainder from national governments. Today's vote is a first step towards actually establishing proper and regular funding for this initiative.
The 1 million Euros budget line proposal must now be negotiated with the European Council and a final decision is expected by the end of November.