By Kari Williamson
"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," says Vilma Radvilaite, the European Wind Energy Association's (EWEA) Regulatory Affairs Advisor.
"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.
"We hope the EU will now go forward with its support for wind energy R&D and allocate a total of €1.3 billion from 2014 - 2020 in its proposal for the multi-annual financial framework," adds.
During the current multi-annual framework wind energy R&D has been allocated around €20m under FP7 and €565m under the European Energy Programme for Recovery.
The 'symbolic' €1m EU budget line for 2012 for wind energy R&D would be in addition to approximately €24m that should be allocated to wind energy research in 2012 under the FP7 Programme, EWEA says.
The SET plan
The budget line comes under the EU's strategic energy technology plan (SET-Plan). In 2010 the European Commission, together with industry and member states launched a 10 year wind energy R&D plan totalling €6bn 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.
The EU Parliament vote is a first step towards actually establishing proper and regular funding for this initiative, EWEA says.
The €1m budget line proposal must now be negotiated with the European Council and a final decision is expected by the end of November.