On Wednesday 25 January 2023, the annual Cleantech for Europe Summit took place in Brussels. Opened with a keynote speech by EVP Margrethe Vestager, the Summit was a meeting of coalitions committed to writing the EU’s cleantech story together. The event included four additions to Cleantech for Europe’s Scale-up Coalition, as well as the announcement of a new partnership with the European Innovation Council. The event brought together 150 representatives of cleantech innovators, investors and policymakers, all key actors in the EU’s mission to lead the competitive global cleantech race, and was broadcast to more than 500 people throughout the EU.
The Cleantech for Europe Summit represented the first meeting of the cleantech and European policy communities following President von der Leyen’s announcement of the Net Zero Industry Act in Davos. The Summit opened with a keynote speech by Executive Vice-President Vestager, who committed to making Europe the “home for clean tech and industrial innovation.”
At the Summit, the annual Cleantech for Europe investment briefing was unveiled, providing a detailed review of the last year in cleantech investments. Despite a difficult year for the world economy, European cleantech investment logged its second highest year on record(following from 2021). This was driven by soaring early-stage investments: seed investments nearly doubled, from ∼€600 million in 2021 to 1.1 billion in 2022. Series A investments rose by 32%. Even series B, the start of the scale-up journey, rose by 38%. However, the EU continues to fall short in scale-up capital, with growth equity falling by 35% year-on-year. This urgently needs to be fixed if the EU is to lead in the global cleantech race.
“The next generation of EU industry is ready to take center stage.”
Executive Director, Cleantech for Europe
10 Members of the European Parliament from as many countries attended the Summit, including the co-chairs of the Cleantech Friendship Group in the European Parliament, MEP Lídia Pereira(EPP) and MEP Mohammed Chahim (S&D). Members chaired sectoral road-mapping discussions with cleantech innovators and investors on topics such as greenhy drogen, industrial decarbonisation, electric trucks, battery recycling, long-duration energy storage, and advanced geothermal energy.
The scaling up of clean technologies will require public and private actors to join forces. At the Summit, the European Innovation Council (EIC), one of the major public investors into clean technologies, and Cleantech for Europe’s Investor Coalition, representing 20+ EU cleantech venture capital firms, signed a letter of intent to ramp up their collaboration. The partnership includes sharing of cleantech deal-flow, hosting dialogues and collaborating on research and analysis of the EU cleantech ecosystem.
Four leading European cleantech companies were welcomed into the Cleantech for Europe Scale-up Coalition. The Coalition represents the Next Generation of European industry. The companies in the coalition are scaling and industrialising technologies helping Europe become climate neutral, energy independent and competitive. It was launched in October 2022 in the presence of European Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson and Breakthrough Energy founder Bill Gates. With these four new members, the coalition now gathers 12 fast-growing cleantech companies, coming together to usher in a new era of climate and industrial leadership for Europe. The members are:
· Skeleton Technologies: manufacturing supercapacitors, Estonia and Germany
· Energy Dome: CO2 Battery developerfor long-duration energy storage, Italy
· ZE Energy: leading developer of solar and storage projects, France
· Verkor: battery gigafactory developer, France
In a recent open letter, CEOs of Cleantech for Europe’s Scale-up Coalition set out the key measures the EU should adopt to remain competitive. The EU should actively seek and remove all barriers to scaling up clean technologies. This includes massively increasing public and private financing for the most promising scale-ups, creating demand with clear incentives for green procurement, removing regulatory hurdles such as years-long permitting and slow standardisation, and building up the supply chains, infrastructure and skills needed for this scale-up.
If the story of cleantech is to be written in Europe, the stakeholders who came together at this week’s Summit will have to turn this increasing collaboration into concrete action. Cleantech for Europe intends to continue facilitating such indispensable efforts.
Communications officer, Cleantech for Europe