The European Union has raised the stakes in its quest to develop green technologies ahead of China, Japan and the United States by launching a competition on Tuesday, with the winners eligible for 4 billion euros ($5.6 billion) in funding.
All eligible projects have to be up and running within the next four years. That shouldnt be a problem for developers such as Germanys E.ON, which manufactures power generators, and Frances Alstom, an engineering group.
These and other green technologies are an increasingly important source of future economic growth and jobs, said EU climate chief Connie Hedegaard in a statement.
The European Unions pool of funding for the project was approved two years ago to support Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology, a process which buries greenhouse gas emissions. Many engineers have high hopes that it could emerge as a key technology going forward.
But the path toward development of these technologies has been rife with politics and intrigue. Infighting among the EUs 27 member states has slowed funding. The launch of this new competition opens the potential for funding to a wider array of companies.
The 4 billion euros will go to at least eight CCS projects and at least 34 renewables projects.
At least one demonstration pilot project will be awarded per EU member state, and no more than three will be approved in a single country.
All proposals will be assessed by the European Investment Bank and the European Commission, consulting EU governments before making the final decision in 2012.