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EU passes €5bn Economic Recovery Plan – includes renewables and energy infrastructure

The European Parliament passed the €5 billion European Union (EU) Economic Recovery Plan on 6 May 2009, which will see investment in energy projects, broadband internet infrastructure and rural development.

€3.98bn will be invested in:

  • Gas and electricity infrastructure (€2.365bn);
  • Offshore wind energy (€565 million); and
  • Carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects (€1.05bn).

The recovery plan will bear up to half of the costs of gas and electricity infrastructure and offshore wind energy projects. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) installations can be co-financed by up 80% of the costs.

The list of potential projects includes offshore windfarms in the North Sea and projects to integrate future offshore wind installations in the North and Baltic Seas into the onshore grid.

A report will be published each year on the implementation of the programme alongside proposals for the budget for the following year. If this report due in March 2010 identifies "serious risks in implementing the priority projects", the Commission could propose additional energy projects, according to the agreement.

Funds that have not been committed by the end of 2010 for gas and electricity infrastructure, offshore wind energy or CCS projects, could be used for energy efficiency and renewable energy measures.

Wind industry welcomes recovery plan

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) says the wind industry is “hailing the newly-agreed EU Economic Recovery Plan as the right economic medicine at the right time.”

“By including offshore wind and electricity grids in the Plan, EU decision-makers have chosen the right areas to make a real difference long-term”, says Christian Kjaer, Chief Executive, EWEA. “The European Parliament’s approval of the Plan should give a real boost to the burgeoning offshore wind sector.”

EWEA highlights the €565m allocated to offshore wind energy projects and that a part of the €3.98 billion earmarked for energy projects will go towards interconnecting Europe’s power grids, and initiating the first stage of an offshore electricity ‘supergrid’.

This could speed up offshore development and network integration even further. As a result it could improve cross-border electricity flow and driving down the power price.

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Energy infrastructure  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Wind power

 

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