Victory for gas lobby as aims of €80bn EU innovation programme altered to channel money to ‘low-carbon’ fossil fuel
Energy from gas power stations has been rebranded as a green, low-carbon source of power by a €80bn European Union programme, in a triumph of the deep-pocketed fossil fuel industry lobby over renewable forms of power.
In a secret document seen by the Guardian, a large slice of billions of euros of funds that are supposed to be devoted to research and development into renewables such as solar and wave power are likely to be diverted instead to subsidising the development of the well-established fossil fuel.
The news comes as a report from the respected International Energy Agency predicted a “golden age for gas” with global production of “unconventional” sources of gas (notably shale gas extracted by hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’) tripling by 2035.
The resulting drop in gas prices though risks stopping the development of renewable energy in its tracks, unless governments take action to support renewable technologies such as solar and wave power. “Renewable energy may be the victim of cheap gas prices if governments do not stick to their renewable support schemes,” said the IEA’s chief economist, Fatih Birol.
The insertion of gas energy as a low-carbon energy into an EU programme follows more 18 months of intensive lobbying by the European gas industry, which is attempting to rebrand itself as a green alternative to nuclear and coal, and as lower cost than renewable forms of power such as wind and sun.