European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič opened this week’s Clean Energy Industrial Forum in Brussels, Belgium, by outlining his priorities for the European Energy Union.
The inaugural Clean Energy Industrial Forum is being held over two days (22-23 February) and is part of a series of events held in support of EU Industry Day 2018. These events will allow stakeholders the opportunity to engage with the European Commission, to shape its strategic approach to industrial policy.
Šefčovič began by highlighting the rapid growth that the clean energy sector has seen over the past few years, and said that this growth is expected to continue: “Thanks to our joint determination, some 9 million Europeans are already working in the clean energy sectors. And we can expect this number to double by 2030.”
However, he warned that will not happen without continued effort on the part of both the European Commission and the industry stakeholders in attendance at the Clean Energy Industrial Forum: “Our climate and energy targets, our regulations and our financing instruments are already being transformed into investments, innovation, growth and jobs.
Šefčovič added: “Our greatest competitive assets are the values we uphold. The only way to build and consolidate EU industry’s position as frontrunner in the global clean energy transition is to defend these core values.”
How might the forum shape the commission’s agenda?
Šefčovič said that the commission currently has a number of priorities in integrating industry players to further its Energy Union ambitions. These include:
- Promoting a rule-based multilateral system;
- Fighting protectionism;
- Forcefully pursuing a sustainability agenda;
- Integrating competitiveness with social models; and
- Supporting citizens, cities and communities to deliver change.
The commissioner said that his approach would allow Europe to become a world leader in energy and allow it to overtake countries such as China and South Korea, which are driving forward in areas from photovoltaics to batteries.
However, he concluded that this meant ensuring that stakeholders in the energy sector are able to create robust partnerships and take concrete actions.
In pursuit of this, Šefčovič identified three strategic areas in which industry-led initiatives will deliver on the commission’s goals: batteries, renewables and construction.
He estimated that thanks to the great potential for growth in these areas, some five million jobs could be created. This in turn could create a new market worth some €250bn per year.