EU seeks to take lead in green energy research

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The European Union's executive will next month publish its strategy for promoting hi-tech solutions to climate change, aiming to give European businesses a head start as the world switches to low-carbon energy

A draft document obtained by Reuters gives insight into the European Commission’s priorities.

Billions of euros will be needed and thousands of jobs created, but officials are still calculating the exact figures and what proportion of spending will come from the public purse or from industry.


The windpower industry must reduce costs faster and build more wind farms offshore where the wind is more reliable and planning constraints are smaller, the report says.

To deal with the tough marine environment, turbines will have to become more powerful and resilient, with new types of substructure to support them.

This will require up to 10 new testing facilities for turbine components, up to 10 demonstration projects of next generation turbines and at least 5 prototypes of offshore substructures.

The goal is fully competitive wind power capable of contributing up to 20 percent of EU electricity by 2020 and a third by 2030.


The photovoltaic sector must reduce costs and enhance performance and lifetime. It must automate and speed up manufacturing. New, visually appealing concepts for integrating photovoltaic systems into the urban fabric need to be developed.

This will require up to 5 pilot plants for automated photovoltaic mass production and several demonstration projects for both decentralised and centralised power production.

The concentrated solar power sector must reduce costs, improve system efficiency, develop storage systems and reduce water consumption. Up to 10 large “first of a kind” power plants must be built.

The programme envisages that up to 15 percent of EU electricity could be generated by solar power in 2020.


The focus will be on building “smart grids” that can balance the fluctuating supply of electricity from renewable energy sources with fluctuating consumption by EU citizens. Up to 20 real-life scale demonstration projects will be needed.

The goal is that by 2020, half of networks in Europe would allow the seamless integration of renewable energy.


Smart cities will glean renewable energy from the sun and wind and from their own waste, feeding it into the electricity network and to trams and cars in the street.

Between 25 and 30 pioneer cities will transform their buildings, energy networks and transport systems.


The bioenergy sector must demonstrate its technology at greater scale, from pilot plants to full industrial scale.

Up to 30 such plants will be needed across Europe to take full account of differing geographical and climate conditions and logistical constraints.

By 2020, the contribution to the EU energy mix from cost-competitive, sustainable bioenergy could be at least 14 percent.


The European Union has laid out plans to have 12 Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) pilot plants up and running by 2015.

The target is to reduce the cost of CCS to 30-50 euros per tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) captured by 2020, making it cost-effective within a carbon pricing environment.


The industry will have to move towards a new generation of reactor type — the so-called Generation-IV nuclear reactor.

Commercial deployment of Generation-IV reactors is foreseen for 2040, but to achieve that target, work has to start now. Solutions for nuclear waste must be identified.


About 470 million euros ($690 million) has already been earmarked for developing fuel cells and hydrogen-powered vehicles during 2008-2013 — to be matched by industry contributions.

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