Wednesday

22nd Sep 2021

Opinion

Batteries set to 'charge' our economy

  • Car battery charging points could become ubiquitous on Europe's streets in a decarbonated future (Photo: Peter Teffer)

The global energy transition is a fascinating quest of innovation.

We constantly improve the ability to produce energy from renewable sources and increase their share in our grids.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Thanks to climate-conscious public opinion in Europe, long-term public policies, and state-of-the art industry, Europe is set to lead this global transition into a clean economy. Next month will see another major milestone as the Commission will present a major legislative proposal on boosting clean transport.

But given the variability of renewable energy sources, it is not enough that we produce clean energy if we do not develop efficient, commercial, and accessible solutions for storing it.

That is where batteries come in. Their development has already radically disrupted the mobile market; you wouldn't have a smartphone today if it weren't for the development of lithium batteries. Now they are about to redefine our transport and energy markets. From energising electric vehicles, through storing household-produced energy, to industrial manufacturing – batteries are a critical building block of the decarbonised economy.

That explains the enormous market that batteries are about to create. As of 2025, we expect Europe's battery sector to be worth €250 billion annually; that is the equivalent of the entire Danish economy! Millions of new jobs are about to be created, but the question remains where.

Policy-makers cannot predict the future, but we can greatly influence it. We can create the best conditions for a battery value chain to develop in Europe. This is no little task; given the scale and speed of investment needed, it requires us to work together at a European level. That is exactly the process we triggered this week as we convened the first high-level meeting on battery development and production.

Our goal was to engage the commitment of public and private stakeholders from all across Europe to immediately start working together on bringing the battery market to Europe.

Europe is lagging behind

Currently, Europe is lagging behind as we are lacking a cell manufacturing base. This jeopardises the security of our supply chain, increases costs of transportation, creates time delays, weaker quality control and limitations on the design.

But I am highly optimistic, given the level enthusiasm from all corners of Europe to take part, to be part of this change.

On Wednesday, we were joined by high-level government officials from a dozen European member states as well as major European manufacturers of cells and battery systems, equipment manufacturers, energy providers, research associations, financial institutions etc. We agreed to work together towards an EU Battery Alliance.

So our real work starts now. Over the next few months we will look together into joining our efforts to create a battery supply chain in Europe, find adequate investment, address trade issues, and boost our research and innovation on batteries. A lot is already happening on each of these topics, but now we will connect the dots and draw the larger picture.

This process will be inclusive. I am inviting all interested industrial players, research and innovation actors, member states and financial institutions to join us. The result of our joint efforts will be presented in February with our new a strategic industry-led roadmap for an EU Battery Alliance.

Some economies will stay in the fossil age; others are already charging the future economy. Europe has made its choice.

Maros Sefcovic is vice-president of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

EU fixes own mistake on 'confusing' energy labels

UPDATED: MEPs approved a new system to inform consumers about the energy efficiency of products. The most important change is abolishing the most recent change to a scale that goes up to A+++.

EU battery law could prove useless

EU member states and MEPs have agreed a new law on recycling batteries aimed at protecting consumers and the environment from hazardous chemicals, but there are fears it will hardly have any impact.

Column

Long ago, there was another Angela Merkel

There is one female leader in European history whom Merkel resembles much more than the fiery, authoritarian Catherine the Great, who once staged a coup with her lover against her husband. Instead, it is the Habsburg empress Maria-Theresia.

The first anniversary of the Abraham Accords

More than 55 agreements between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain are currently underway. These lay the foundation for practical cooperation in almost all fields including: finance, communications, economy, culture, tourism, taxation, investment protection, freedom of movement, water, agriculture and energy.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed

Latest News

  1. French MEPs lead bogus EU monitoring of Russia vote
  2. Europeans think new 'Cold War' is here - but not for them
  3. Spain wants energy price discussion at next EU summit
  4. Trust in Dutch government drops, but not for Rutte
  5. Long ago, there was another Angela Merkel
  6. The first anniversary of the Abraham Accords
  7. First refugee deaths confirmed on Belarus-EU border
  8. EU kept in dark on ex-commissioner's new lobby job

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us