The EU’s prosperity and global relevance over the coming decades will depend on our ability to innovate. An energy system is the bloodstream to many of our activities. Moreover, innovation in clean energy will be of vital importance.
“We have to push the accelerator in the next EU programme for research and innovation (FP9) and we must substantially increase the financing of clean energy innovations”, said Jerzy Buzek MEP, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and Rapporteur of the Report ‘Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation’, adopted today in the committee.
Energy was first considered in the research and innovation programme (FP7) from 2007 until 2013, with focus on innovation in the traditional energy sectors.
A lot has happened since then. In the subsequent programme, Horizon 2020, we address the broader challenges of energy transformation. And in the years ahead, we will see individual citizens playing a more central role. Jerzy Buzek underlined: “Households are not only consumers of energy. Eight out of ten households could also - in some way - be involved in producing energy by 2050 and therefore contribute to a profound transformation of the energy generation.”
He continued: “Electro mobility is revolutionising our transport. Many of us already live in smart homes, work in smart office buildings. The internet of things will also drastically change the energy landscape. With new applications and intelligent energy systems, Europeans will be able to make more conscious choices - helping to keep our environment cleaner, generate savings, but also investment in new energy technologies innovation. As policy-makers, our role is to encourage and foster the change of mind-set, but also to make the energy transformation a true opportunity for our businesses but also for all Europeans.”
In money terms, the European Parliament has already asked to increase the next research and innovation programme (FP9 for the period 2021-2027) to a total of €120 billion. To transform the EU’s energy systems, Jerzy Buzek is calling for a 50 per cent increase in the share that is related to innovation in the field of energy. The increase is imperative if the EU is to achieve the ambitious goals in the Energy Union - the need for affordable, reliable and secure energy, the increase of clean energy and technological advances in the energy system.
But EU funds cannot do it alone. We can and will create certainty about the long-term financing, yet public money must be complementary to private sector contribution.
“This is why we are streamlining our regulation; making our policies and actions more coherent so that private investors, innovators and energy enterprises can effectively seize this as an opportunity; an opportunity to create cutting edge, competitive solutions, to find completely new markets, to set new trends that will generate profits for our economies and lead to a much more sustainable use of energy”, he concluded.