Statement by President von der Leyen on the launch of the Catalyst Programme with Bill Gates and Werner Hoyer in Glasgow

Source: European Commission (EC) i, published on Tuesday, November 2 2021.

Indeed, today, we are launching a pioneering partnership to boost investment in critical climate technologies in Europe. The European Commission is joining forces with Breakthrough Energy Catalyst and with the European Investment Bank. We will scale up critical green technologies and create markets for them. And I am very glad that Bill Gates and Werner Hoyer are joining me for the launch of this ‘EU-Catalyst Partnership'.

Bill Gates, I remember very well when we announced our intention in June. We have worked since then to have this Partnership up and running, ready-to-go for COP26 - here we are. The idea for our cooperation is very simple: breakthrough innovations will help us cut emissions. So how that? At the beginning, if you look at these innovations and their production costs, they are often not competitive, they are too expensive, and their markets are not scalable, they are too small. They may be high-risk for companies at the beginning, but we know that they are also high-gain for the economy when deployed. So we are investing to scale up the market for these new technologies.

First, we are mobilising, together, USD 1 billion from various sources: public, private, philanthropic. Second, we will invest in projects that are based in the European Union. These are projects with high potential and high impact, stemming from four sectors: It is clean hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuels, direct air capture and long duration energy storage. And then thirdly, we will help create markets for these innovative products. We will help bring down their cost to a level that is competitive. We will support the so-called Green Premium, that is the additional cost that companies face by taking the risk of deploying new technologies. And this is important. Because despite the success we had, for example, in bringing down the cost of wind energy and photovoltaics, we still see today, in some parts of the world, that some fossil-fuel based technologies still remain cheaper than the green alternatives. So how will our Partnership work in practice?

The European Investment Bank i, using an EU budget guarantee from the Commission, and Breakthrough Energy Catalyst will provide equivalent amounts of investments in projects that are selected on a competitive basis. So what we spend in EU funds will be fully matched by our partners. Then, Breakthrough Energy Catalyst will mobilise corporate partners. They will purchase the green products that result from the use of the new technologies. Let me give you an example, a steel company, for example, will order clean hydrogen, or an airline will buy sustainable fuel. We already have a list of partners that will be ready to buy these green products. This is a very good starting point. And we want to go fast: We are planning to select the first projects already next year.

Finally, green innovations will increasingly pay off in Europe, as we firm up, as regulators, our climate policies and rules. Because that will give the guidelines where the journey is going to. And as you know, with our Climate Law, the European Union has bound itself to reduce emissions by at least 55% until 2030. And of course, these clear directions and guidelines cast in law will drive innovation, which in return is necessary to achieve the climate goals we have set ourselves. And this will also create - we are deeply convinced - high quality, green jobs in the European Union. I hope that this Partnership will be a template for similar initiatives in Europe and around the globe.

Thank you so much.