Speech: Driving battery production in the EU: 2nd high-level meeting on the European Battery Alliance - Brussels.
[CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY]
- Four month ago, in October, we were standing right here to lay the first stone of an EU Battery Alliance. My main message back then was “WHY” we need to join forces and capture a new market worth 250 billion euros annually as of 2025.
- By then, demand for battery cells is expected to amount to 200 GWh in Europe and to 600 GWh globally. It means we need between ten and twenty Gigafactories here. No single actor can seize such market on its own.
- Therefore, today, it is no longer about “WHY” or “IF”. It is about “HOW”. And I am impressed with the progress made so far.
- The industry has taken the lead, as we intended, and thanks to the EU Battery Alliance, serving as an umbrella for prospective partnerships:
- More than 80 industrial and innovation actors throughout the value chain have been involved in preparing concrete actions;
- Cells manufacturing projects and consortia are being formed in a number of Member States, these projects cover the whole value chain and are both, cross-border and cross-sectorial;
- And an excellent cooperation with the European Investment Bank was established.
- At today’s meeting, we – the Commission, Member States and the EIB – have discussed ways to step up our cooperation and pool instruments at the national and European level, in support of these emerging and prospective industry-led projects. Let me share a few of our conclusions:
- At the EU level, InnovFin (the EIB’s finance for innovators) is already being used to finance pilot demonstration lines for innovative cells manufacturing;
- But we should prepare for a next phase, which means prioritising batteries under the so-called Framework programme 9, a successor of Horizon 2020;
- We are also set to explore opportunities offered by IPCEIs (Important Projects of Common European Interest) to combine EU and national funding;
- In our view, battery cells manufacturing, as a sector with skills shortages, should become part of the New Skills Agenda (the Blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills) – automotive industry, green tech and renewables are already included;
- On the regulatory front, we are set to evaluate the existing Battery Directive in order to boost the circular economy in this area.
- In the meantime, I encourage you to pencil down 23 February when the first-ever Clean Energy Industrial Forum will be held in Brussels. I’ve already mentioned 80 industrial and innovation actors preparing concrete actions under the EU Battery Alliance – their 49 actions precisely, including 20 priority ones, will be presented there.
- Based on this, in May, the Commission will table a fully-fledged action plan for the next generation of green batteries as a real differentiated product.
- To conclude: we all know that batteries are a strategic component of our competitiveness. And we also know that time is of the essence here.
- Therefore, to show that we mean business, we have agreed to meet again in four months’ time, before the summer break.
- I am convinced that you will see additional concrete projects taking off the ground. Because I am ever more convinced that the EU has what it takes to become a global leader in the next generation of batteries production.