Europe plans “EU Battery Alliance” to establish full large-scale battery development and production; strategic plan next year
The European Union is beginning efforts to establish a full value chain of advanced batteries in Europe, with large-scale Li-ion battery cell production, and the circular economy, at the core. European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, who is in charge of the Energy Union, organized a high-level meeting on battery development and production in Europe this past Wednesday in Brussels.
The meeting pulled together stakeholders from European industry—including automotive OEMs, chemical companies, energy companies and battery cell manufacturing companies—and member states to discuss the establishment of such a full value chain of batteries in Europe. The meeting agreed that large-scale manufacturing of Li-ion cells with highest possible control of intellectual property (IP) is crucial for EU economy and job creation for the future.
As was recalled by the actors in our meeting, we are at a critical juncture. The lack of a domestic, European cell manufacturing base jeopardizes the position of EU industrial customers because of the security of the supply chain, increased costs due to transportation, time delays, weaker quality control or limitations on the design. So, we need to act fast—and collectively—to overcome this competitive disadvantage and capitalize on our leadership in many sectors of the battery value chain, from materials to system integration and recycling.
Due to the level and urgency of investment needed, this cannot be done in a fragmented manner. It needs a Europe-wide approach. Members of the EU industry and innovation community will drive this process, working in close partnership with the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and interested Member States, to establish a competitive manufacturing chain, capture sizeable markets and boost jobs, growth and investment across Europe.
Since time is running out, we concluded that we will join our efforts to come up with a strategic plan early next year. This could take the form of a comprehensive roadmap for an EU Battery Alliance, to be presented in February 2018, at the Clean Energy Industrial Forum, as part of the EU Industry Days.
The work starts immediately. Following today’s high-level meeting, we will organize a number of working groups, including on the supply chain, investment financing and engineering, trade issues, research and innovation, and others. Industrial participants will take the lead, express interest to participate in or even be rapporteur for each work strand.—Maroš Šefčovič