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Speech: Vice-President Šefčovič speech at the launch of the EU Battery Alliance Business Investment Platform by InnoEnergy

Met dank overgenomen van M. (Maroš) Sefčovič, gepubliceerd op woensdag 25 september 2019.

Dear participants,

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to address you again today.

I am delighted to see that the European Battery Alliance ecosystem is more active than ever. Mobilized for our leadership in this strategic sector.

What we have accomplished together since the end of 2017 - only 2 years - is impressive.

As this Commission mandate is coming to a close, let me rapidly recap some of the key initiatives launched together:

  • The building of a European Battery ecosystem from scratch, putting together the main stakeholders from the whole value chain, and supporting flagship innovative manufacturing projects spring up.
  • A Strategic Action Plan on Batteries compiling the key measures to make the EU catch up in the global race for the next generation of batteries, that we are now implementing.
  • The smart use of the IPCEI to boost our capacities in disruptive R&I and first industrial deployment. Very soon, I hope we will be able to announce the first initiatives that will be launched (pending final notification from the MS concerned).
  • The marching order of the European R&I Community, driven by the ETIP platform BatteRIes Europe, formally launched in June 2019 - and the massive grant support on R&I provided by the H2020 programme. Soon, a Public Private Partnership on Batteries should be created to nurture the cooperation between the innovation ecosystem, the Member States and the European Commission.
  • The very fruitful bilateral partnership with the European Investment Bank, now ready to invest into all segments of the value chain.
  • The involvement of regions in EBA, through the Smart Specialisation Partnership to support regional projects and innovation ecosystem across European regions.
  • And finally, the official launch today of the Business Investment Platform by InnoEnergy, aiming at facilitating the matchmaking between projects owners and financial stakeholders. This I am sure will contribute decisively to accelerating the deployment of commercially successful solutions (going from lab to market), in record-time.

We can be proud of the very positive and dynamic atmosphere and results of the EBA. I would like to dearly thank InnoEnergy team for helping us act as facilitator or system integrator here.

We can and should be even prouder of the impact that EBA has already had on the ground. Some of the cases you have worked on this morning - for match-making purposes - are impressive:

  • Northvolt has been a front runner - a start-up 3 years ago, it has been able to raise a $1 billion equity and started building a Gigafactory to produce already 8 GWh by 2020. I understand a significant share of the production volumes from Northvolt has been sold to key customers, amounting to a combined order value of over $13 billion up until 2030. A joint venture between the Volkswagen Group and Northvolt will also be set up to establish a 16 GWh battery cell Gigafactory in Germany.
  • Northvolt is of course a success story for the EU, but it is not the only one. Others are well on track. We are surely proving that in Europe, we can be fast and efficient when supporting huge and ambitious industrial projects.
  • This morning, you have also heard about Freyr AS, announcing its intention to build a combined 32 GWh battery facility in Norway combined with the development of up to a 600 MW onshore wind-park.
  • Infinity Lithium is in advanced talks with four European companies regarding an offtake agreement for the San Jose lithium project's production capacity of 15,000 metric tons per year of lithium hydroxide, in Spain (Extremadura).
  • I could add the investments announced by UMICORE and BASF, in active materials, respectively in Poland and Finland, and the tremendous efforts made by EU car manufacturers in terms of EV production. According to a recent report from Transport & Environment, they jointly plan to invest around EUR 145 billion on electric cars, and the production of electric vehicles in Europe is expected to multiply six-fold between 2019 and 2025, reaching more than 4 million cars and vans. These ambitions will be an incredible driving force behind the whole battery value chain.
  • I also very much welcome the upcoming IPCEI with France and Germany in the lead, with many other Member States to set up Battery Pilot Plants and Gigafactories with thousands jobs to be created as a result.
  • I am convinced that from IPCEIs will emerge multiple industrial projects that will be welcome by public and private investors, through the Business Investment Platform and other channels, depending on their characteristics and their financial needs.

I am strongly convinced this is only the tip of the Iceberg. Many other projects could be mentioned. Some of which you are already or will soon be familiar will.

The EIB receives more and more loans demands for batteries-related projects, InnoEnergy estimates that massive investments - about EUR 100 billion - happens throughout the batteries value chain and that today, the Business Investment Platform itself would channel the equivalent of EUR 20 billion of investments.

Today, any mature solution can find a way to get a funding for first industrial deployment, industrialization and commercialization.

I am also glad that in the frame of Smart Specialisation and the Interregional partnership on Advanced Materials for Batteries, several industrial projects are brought to life and will benefit from financial support. We still have EUR 9 billion that can be allocated to these projects from the regional funds, in addition to already selected ones.

To conclude: I am really humbled to be able to continue leading this project in the next Commission.

There is a lot that we can achieve together in the next five years, provided we sustain the momentum.

Tomorrow, I will inform the Member States in the Competition Council on the progress made in the Alliance and the steps ahead.

The Alliance should serveas a test-case to build our long-term vision for Europe's industrial policy centred on strategic value chains (in this and other key sectors) and joined-up investment. This is why it also partakes in the foresight portfolio assigned to me by the President-elect.

Tomorrow I will pass some of the key messages you have come up with today to the Ministers.



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