On 2 June 2021, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Bill Gates have announced a pioneering partnership between the European Commission and Breakthrough Energy Catalyst to boost investments in the critical climate technologies that will enable the net-zero economy. Presented on the occasion of the sixth Mission Innovation Ministerial meeting, the new partnership aims to mobilise new investments of up to €820 million/$1 billion between 2022-26 to build large-scale, commercial demonstration projects for clean technologies – lowering their costs, accelerating their deployment, and delivering significant reductions in CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. This new partnership intends to invest in a portfolio of high-impact EU-based projects initially in four sectors with a high potential to help deliver on the economic and climate ambitions of the European Green Deal:
Sustainable aviation fuels;
Direct air capture;
Long-duration energy storage.
In doing so, it seeks to scale up key climate-smart technologies and speed up the transition towards sustainable industries in Europe.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “With our European Green Deal, Europe wants to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. And Europe has also the great opportunity to become the continent of climate innovation. For this, the European Commission will mobilise massive investments in new and transforming industries over the next decade. This is why I'm glad to join forces with Breakthrough Energy. Our partnership will support EU businesses and innovators to reap the benefits of emission-reducing technologies and create the jobs of tomorrow.”
Bill Gates, Founder of Breakthrough Energy, said:“Decarbonising the global economy is the greatest opportunity for innovation the world has ever seen. Europe will play a critical role, having demonstrated an early and consistent commitment to climate and longstanding leadership in science, engineering, and technology. Through this partnership, Europe will lay solid ground for a net-zero future in which clean technologies are reliable, available, and affordable for all.”
Established in 2015 by Bill Gates and a coalition of private investors concerned about the impacts of accelerating climate change, Breakthrough Energy supports the innovations that will lead the world to net-zero emissions. ECOPNET (European Cooperation and Partnership Network) is pleased to see further steps to establish European Partnerships that aim to improve and accelerate the development and uptake of new innovative solutions across different sectors, by mobilising public and private resources.
The European Commission-Breakthrough Energy Catalyst partnership will target technologies with a recognised potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but which are currently too expensive to get to scale and compete with fossil fuel-based incumbent technologies. The world cannot wait for technologies to develop on their own. By bringing together the public and private sectors to invest in large-scale demonstration projects, the partnership will help lower the costs of these critical technologies, accelerating their take-up and use. It will help turn scientific leadership into the foundation of the sustainable industries of the future. Support will take the form of financial instruments and grants.
The EU is supporting a range of partnerships under the Horizon Europe programme (building on those supported under previous EU research and innovation programmes), which mobilise private funding to deliver on pressing global challenges and modernise industry through research and innovation. A €100 million investment fund established with Breakthrough Energy Ventures in 2019 has yielded promising investments across major energy-related sectors where efforts are essential in fighting climate change.
Breakthrough Energy intends to join forces with existing EU programmes such as Horizon Europe and the Innovation Fund to finance the new partnership, which will be implemented by the European Investment Bank and other interested financial institutions under the InvestEU programme.
Source: European Commission Press Corner