26 Sep 2019, 14:01
Sören Amelang

USA and China overtake Europe in energy R&D expenses – report

Bizz Energy

Europe dedicated less money to energy research and development last year, resulting in the US and China outspending the EU and its member states "for the first time", bizz energy reports. The continent mobilised 7.34 billion dollars for research & development in the energy sector in 2018, a decrease of 7 percent compared to a year earlier, according to International Energy Agency (IEA) calculations for the specialist publication. In contrast, China and the US ramped up spending by 12 percent each, taking expenses to 8 billion dollars in China, and 8.2 billion dollars in the US.

"Of particular concern is the IEA's finding that, for the first time, EU research funding for renewable energy has not increased but decreased," bizz energy writes, adding that both the EU and Germany's climate strategies depend heavily on innovations. "They fell from 518 million dollars to 500 million - a drop of 3.5 percent. In Germany, the most important research location, they even fell by 10 percent from 398 to 357 million dollars." The EU commission blamed the decrease on statistical effects, but bizz energy writes that economic troubles in the energy sector are a likely explanation. Climate action is threatening the fossil industries' business model, and the renewables sector has also hit difficult times as the roll-out of wind and solar has almost ground to a halt. "Distressed companies are saving on research and EU funding is doing little to change this," Maroš Šefčovič, an advisor to the EU's energy commissioner, told bizz energy. Companies wanting EU R&D support usually have to pay half of the costs themselves, the publication notes. 

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