EU’s competitiveness in the clean energy sector entails the capacity to produce and use affordable, reliable and accessible clean energy and compete in the global clean energy markets, with the overall aim of bringing benefits to the EU economy and people.
The EU is currently facing technological and non-technological challenges, such as high energy prices, critical raw materials supply chain disruptions and skills shortages. Strengthening the competitiveness of the EU clean energy sector will contribute to increasing the EU's technology sovereignty, and shape a more resilient, independent, secure and affordable energy system needed to meet these challenges
Considering that half of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions expected by 2050 require technologies that are not yet ready for the market, research and innovation activities are crucial to supply the technologies needed for the green and digital energy transition and to deliver on the European Green Deal and REPowerEU objectives.
Progress reports on competitiveness of clean energy technologies
Since 2020, the European Commission has published yearly progress reports on competitiveness of clean energy technologies that present the current and projected state of play for different clean and low-carbon energy technologies and solutions. They also map the research, innovation and competitiveness aspects of the EU’s clean energy system as a whole, with the final scope of informing policy decisions and help make the EU competitive, resource-efficient, resilient, independent, and climate-neutral by 2050.
The 2022 Competitiveness Progress Report takes into account the EU’s call for the higher roll-out of clean energy technologies and the impact of the energy crisis on the sector and builds on available data to provide insights into ways of reinforcing the EU’s competitiveness in strategic energy value chains, while also increasing the spread of the EU’s clean energy technologies. The report includes dedicated sections on solar photovoltaics, offshore and onshore wind, heat pumps for building applications, batteries, renewable hydrogen production through water electrolysis, renewable fuels, and smart technologies for energy management. It also includes a section summarising key findings on other main clean energy solutions, such as hydropower, ocean energy, geothermal energy, concentrated solar power and heat, carbon capture utilisation and storage, bioenergy, and nuclear energy.
These progress reports are published in accordance with Article 35, 2 (m) of the Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action and accompany the State of the Energy Union reports.
The Net-Zero Industry Act
The Act aims to strengthen the resilience and competitiveness of net-zero technologies in the EU, by making our energy system more secure, sustainable and affordable. It will create the right conditions to attract investments, support innovation (including through regulatory sandboxes) and ensure that at least 40% of the EU’s annual deployment needs for net-zero technologies are manufactured in the EU. It provides an EU roadmap to reduce Europe’s high dependency on imports from China and other single suppliers of net-zero technologies. It will also help increase resilience in Europe’s clean energy supply chains by avoiding the disruption in global energy market supply chains brought about by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which in turn accelerated Europe’s transition away from Russian fossil fuels.
The Clean Energy Technology Observatory
The European Commission has set up the Clean Energy Technology Observatory (CETO), which is a common initiative between the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, implementing the observatory, the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, and the Directorate-General for Energy.
As of 2022, the observatory, which builds on the Low Carbon Energy Observatory, is monitoring EU research and innovation activities on the clean energy technologies needed to achieve the European Green Deal’s objectives. One of its main goals 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.
CETO produces a series of annual reports addressing technology maturity status, development and trends (2030-2050 and beyond), value chain analysis, global market and EU positioning, along with clean technology system integration. These reports provide the evidence-based analysis underpinning the Progress Report on Competitiveness of Clean Energy Technologies and support the implementation of the SET Plan and research policy development.
- 2022 Progress Report on competitiveness of clean energy technologies (COM(2022) 643)
- 2021 Progress Report on competitiveness of clean energy technologies (COM(2021) 952) and its five staff working documents (SWD (2021) 307)
- 2020 Progress report on competitiveness of clean energy technologies (COM(2020) 953)
- ENTEC Study on regulatory sandboxes in the energy sector (July 2023)
- Clean energy transition - technologies and innovations, accompanying the report on progress of clean energy competitiveness (SWD (2020) 953)
- Energy union and the Seventh Report on the State of the Energy Union
- Clean Energy Industrial Forum
- Clean Energy Technology Observatory
- Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan