In November 2018, the Commission presented its strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate-neutral economy by 2050. In this Communication, entitled ‘A Clean Planet for All’, the Commission concludes that ‘internationally, over the coming year the EU should expand its cooperation closely with its international partners’. This is particularly relevant in the area of international cooperation on energy technology innovation for two important reasons:
1) The European Union will only represent 10% of the global market for renewables in the next 30 years, which means that innovation will need to reflect many needs and developments outside of the EU; European manufacturers and European innovation of renewable energy equipment will need to take those into account to be successful, and for applications in Europe which might combine European and other continents’ products, one needs to be aware of such potential differences.
2) The decentralized nature of most renewable energy technologies will require localized partnerships for successful deployment on other continents, to address specific localized innovation challenges within emerging countries.
What international partners should the EU now focus on?
The emergence of new renewable energy markets across the globe is widening the scope for international cooperation. At the same time, some international partners are now demonstrating increasing specialization in certain energy technologies, as the global energy transition accelerates. This specialization is sometimes based on R&I cooperation with other countries, however this can change over time and as TRL (Technology Readiness Levels) advance.
The dominance of specialization can be seen in various areas of the energy value chains, such as in primary resources, with cobalt in the DRC; products such as electric buses in China; and services such as shared mobility in the US.
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