The Commission is about to drop a Parliament decision to ring fence two thirds of the EU's energy research budget for renewables, European renewable energy industry associations have warned.

In a vote on the EU's seventh framework programme for research (FP7) on 15 June, the European Parliament had decided to reserve two thirds of EU energy research budget for renewables. Of the 2.4 billion euros to be allocated to energy research - outside nuclear - for the period 2007-2013, MEPs secured some 1.6 billion to renewable energies and energy efficiency programmes (EurActiv 16 June 2006).

But renewable energy industry associations have warned that the Commission has dropped this requirement in an amended version of the text to be submitted to EU ministers at the Competitiveness Council on Monday (24 July).

"We are hearing many fine words about the importance of renewables and energy efficiency. Now that decision time has arrived, there is silence," said Christian Kjaer, Chief Executive of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). The Commission's spokesperson service said it wanted to keep its options open and maintain its ability to choose the projects it thinks best deserve financing.