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Materials impact on the EU’s competitiveness of the renewable energy, storage and e-mobility sectors: Wind power, solar photovoltaic and battery technologies

In the context of the decarbonisation of the European energy system and achieving the long-term climate change mitigation objectives, this study assesses the impact of materials on the competitiveness of the EU’s clean energy technology industry, taking into account several factors such as security and concentration of materials supply, price volatility, cost intensity in the technology, etc. These factors, together with the EU’s resilience to potential materials supply disruptions and mitigation possibilities, have been analysed for three technologies, namely wind turbines, solar PV panels and batteries. Wind power was found to be the most vulnerable technology in relation to materials supply, followed by solar PV and batteries. From the materials perspective, several opportunities have been identified to improve the EU’s industrial competitiveness with regard to the deployment of these technologies, such as boosting recycling businesses in the EU, promoting research and innovation, diversifying the supply and strengthening and increasing downstream manufacturing in the EU.