The EU is committed to becoming climate neutral by 2050 and set to become a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy. At the same time, today’s energy production account for more than 75% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, which requires a major transformation of the EU energy systems. Innovative and affordable clean energy technologies are at the centre of this effort and will be a major stepping stone in realising the energy and climate objectives of the European Green Deal.
Competitiveness in the clean energy sector entails the capacity to produce and use affordable, reliable and accessible clean energy through clean energy technologies, and compete in energy technology markets, with the overall aim of bringing benefits to the EU economy and people. A competitive clean energy industry is therefore key in order to supply the technologies needed to transition.
The competitiveness level of a specific industry is measured through a broad set of indicators, including
- the technology’s status, like installed capacity, or levelised cost of energy
- value chain, as size of the market per value chain component with the value added
- the industry's position through trade balance, or as a top global player
Since 2020, the European Commission has published a yearly progress report on clean energy technologies and the competitiveness of the EU clean energy industry. It takes stock on whether the development is on track to deliver the green transition and thereby contributes to reaching the EU’s long-term energy and climate goals.
The second progress report was published as annex to the 2021 State of the energy union report in October 2021 and is particularly crucial for the post COVID-19 economic recovery, since improved competitiveness has the potential to mitigate the short- and medium-term economic and social impact of the pandemic.
The Clean Energy Technology Observatory
To address the complexity and multi-faced character of the transition towards a climate neutral EU, the European Commission has set up the Clean Energy Technology Observatory (CETO), a common initiative between the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, implementing the observatory, its Directorate-General for Research and Innovation and Directorate-General for Energy, which offer their support on the policy side.
As of 2022, CETO will monitor the EU research and innovation activities on the clean energy technologies needed to achieve the European Green Deal’s objectives, building on the previous work of the Low Carbon Energy Observatory. One of the main goals of CETO is to provide a repository of techno- and socio-economic data on the most relevant technologies and their integration in the energy system. It targets in particular the status and outlook for innovative solutions and the sustainable market uptake of both mature and inventive technologies.
This project is particularly relevant to the Commission’s annual Competitiveness Progress Report, serving as a prime data source. It will also support the implementation of the SET Plan and research policy development.
CETO will produce a series of annual reports addressing the following themes: technology maturity status, development and trends (2030-2050 and beyond), value chain analysis, global market and EU positioning, along with clean technology system integration.
- 2021 Progress Report on competitiveness of clean energy technologies (COM(2021)950 and its five staff working documents SWD (2021) 307
- 2020 Progress report on competitiveness of clean energy technologies COM(2020)953
- Clean energy transition - technologies and innovations, accompanying the report on progress of clean energy competitiveness SWD (2020) 953