At the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Bill Gates, the Founder of Breakthrough Energy, together with European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer, have officially entered into a pioneering partnership that will boost investments in critical climate technologies, following up on the initial announcement made in June this year at the Mission Innovation Ministerial Conference.
“The time for action is now,” said Mrs von der Leyen. “The climate challenge requires us to invest in high-risk innovations and to eliminate the ‘green premium’ involved in commercialising new technologies. I cannot wait to see the technologies coming to the market. The EU-Catalyst partnership is another step on the way to making Europe the first climate-neutral and climate innovation continent. I look to Member States, industry and others to join the climate innovation race.”
This partnership will mobilise up to 820 million euros between 2022-2026 to accelerate the deployment and rapidly commercialise innovative technologies that will help deliver European Green Deal ambitions and the EU’s 2030 climate targets. Each euro of public funds is expected to leverage three euros of private funds. Investments will be directed towards a portfolio of EU-based projects with high potential in four sectors: clean hydrogen; sustainable aviation fuels; direct air capture; and long-duration energy storage.
“Reaching net-zero will be one of the hardest things humanity has ever done,” added Bill Gates. “It will require new technologies, new policies, and new partnerships between the private and public sector at a scale we have never seen before. This partnership with the European Commission and European Investment Bank will help accelerate the widespread adoption of climate solutions, which will build clean industries, and create job opportunities throughout Europe for generations to come.”
The EU-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 technologies. It will bring together the public and private sectors to invest in large-scale demonstration projects.
Both the European Investment Bank (using Commission resources) and Breakthrough Energy Catalyst will provide equivalent amounts of grants and financial investments in the projects. As part of its contribution, Breakthrough Energy Catalyst will mobilise partners to invest in projects and/or purchase the resulting green products.
By supporting these technologies in this phase of the demonstration process and creating a market for those green products, the EU-Catalyst partnership will drive down their ‘green premium’, including reducing their costs to a level that is eventually competitive with fossil-fuel-based options. This will help to accelerate their global adoption and lead to independence from public support schemes.