EU lacks 99% of battery raw materials, ‘needs €4.2tn by 2030’

EU lacks 99% of battery raw materials, ‘needs €4.2tn by 2030’

EU lacks 99% of battery raw materials, ‘needs €4.2tn by 2030’ 1000 660 Energy Storage Journal

March 7, 2024: The EU supplies just 1% of its own needs for key battery raw materials — and needs a staggering €4.2 trillion ($4.6 trillion) of new investment by 2030 to achieve green energy ambitions, European Commission batteries supremo Maroš Šefčovič has warned.

Šefčovič (pictured), the Commission’s executive VP for the European Green Deal, told business leaders and policymakers attending a European Investment Bank (EIB) group forum on February 8 securing easy access to new, climate-related financing, is now among the “make-or-break” conditions for the Green Deal.

He revealed that Europe’s “stagnated” power sector infrastructure is in urgent need of an overhaul, with thousands of connection requests for renewable energy generation and storage facilities being rejected because of insufficient grid capacity.

“So we are investing billions in windmills, in photovoltaic panels, but we cannot get this renewable energy to the final consumer,” he said.

At least €700 billion in additional investment each year up to 2030 is needed to achieve the objectives of the Green Deal and REPowerEU — the Commission initiative aimed at ending reliance on Russian fossil fuels before 2030 in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Šefčovič called for the EIB to establish a dedicated ‘sustainable critical raw materials task force’ focusing exclusively on financing projects securing reliable European supplies of key battery materials including lithium, cobalt and nickel.

The task force should be able to take higher risks than a normal bank, innovating new financing solutions to address market failures and acting as venture capital when necessary, he said.

The task force could also lead the efforts of national funds dedicated to raw minerals, such as those in Germany (worth €1 billion) and France (€2 billion), and a newly-launched €500 million fund launched by EU sustainable energy investor EIT InnoEnergy and Demeter, an actor in venture capital and private equity.

The EIB, which is owned by EU member states, has yet to respond officially to Šefčovič’s proposals and did not comment when contacted by Batteries International.

However, sources said on March 5 bank officials had a “positive” opinion on the critical raw materials task force proposal.

On February 22, Batteries International reported that EUROBAT is calling for the appointment of an EU ‘commissioner for strategic autonomy’ with specific responsibility for safeguarding the bloc’s battery materials supply chain.

Photo: EC audiovisual service/ Mauro-Bottaro