Remarks by Commissioner Simson at the Joint Ministerial Plenary of the 14th Clean Energy Ministerial and 8th Mission Innovation Ministerial

Thank you, Mr Chair.

Allow me to start by thanking our hosts, Minister Shri Raj Kumar Singh and Minister Jitendra Singh for their leadership and for their efforts to organise a joint ministerial meeting of the Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation, back-to-back with our G20 meeting.

Clean energy innovation and deployment are two sides of the very same coin.

Investment in innovative new technologies today changes the energy landscapes of tomorrow. The recent history of wind and solar is there to highlight this lesson.

In the EU, soon after Russia had launched its unprovoked war on Ukraine, we were reminded the hard way that clean energy transition and energy security are closely intertwined.

Speeding up the deployment of renewable energy was already an EU priority; but with our REPowerEU Plan, it got a new, strategic dimension in terms of securing the EU’s energy needs, building a more resilient energy system and phasing out Europe’s dependency on Russian fossil fuels.

In a joint effort with EU Member States, we have revised our major clean energy policies and increased our deployment targets.

Back in 2018, we had proposed an EU level target of 32% for renewable energy by 2030. In June 2023, EU Member States agreed to increase this target to 42,5% by 2030.

And this acceleration is happening on the ground!

2022 was a record year for the European solar PV market with around 41 GW of new installed capacity. This is 47% more than in 2021.

A similar trend was recorded in the wind sector: 46% more onshore and offshore wind were installed in 2022 than in the previous year.

In 2022, wind and solar together generated 22% of EU’s electricity, overtaking natural gas for the first time.

The challenge now is to maintain, and even accelerate this pace of change. In Europe and worldwide.

I believe that the clean energy transition will succeed only if it is a process where all countries participate.

We need to re-energise the global race towards a clean energy system based on renewables.

That’s why, already at the Major Economies Forum on Climate and Energy, in April this year, our President von der Leyen proposed to international partners to work together towards global targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy, in the context of the COP28.

We also need to renew our focus on supporting clean energy technologies. In most of the world’s regions, decarbonisation and electrification are driving up the demand for wind turbines, solar panels, converters, power cables, etc. We must meet this demand with innovative, sustainable and affordable technology.

This is why we welcomed last year in Pittsburgh the Clean Energy Technology Demonstration Challenge. The result was truly impressive with 23 national governments and the EU committing 94 billion US dollars to deliver 221 demonstration projects!

As part of our contribution, we have committed over 28 billion euros by 2027, through the various EU funding programmes (Horizon Europe, Innovation Fund, InvestEU), with a view to bringing promising clean technologies to commercial scale, particularly in hard-to-abate sectors.

We also want to better link research and manufacturing. We are boosting the scale-up of the manufacturing of net-zero technologies in Europe, while maintaining our markets open and accessible. This includes the strengthening and diversification of global supply chains, as well as an ambitious trade agenda and building of the necessary knowledge and skills.

The value of CEM and Mission Innovation lies in providing a collaborative framework for meeting these challenges.

Let me just highlight three priority areas from the European Commission’s perspective:

The full decarbonisation of the power sector is a milestone to be reached as early as possible. Still, it is a huge challenge that we all pursue within our own means and geographies. The initiative of CEM power workstreams to establish a “library” of CEM members’ “Power Decarbonisation Action Plan” is very helpful and therefore we are pleased to support it.

Hydrogen is a game changer for Europe. We need to move from the niche market to the mass market for hydrogen. This will require reducing clean hydrogen costs and helping demand creation. We take pride in co-leading relevant activities under MI and CEM, such as the Hydrogen Mission which aims to create 100 hydrogen valleys globally by 2030, or the CEM Hydrogen Ports Coalition that includes more than 50 harbours from across the world.

Finally, let me underline how important it is to promote energy efficiency and to make the clean energy transition people-centric. Our citizens must see benefits in terms of lower bills, healthier living environment, as well as quality employment. 2023 in the EU is the “European Year of Skills”, which pairs very well with the objectives and activities of the CEM Empowering People Initiative and their series of “Solutions Summits”.

We have a strong set of challenges ahead of us. But together, we can advance better and faster towards our clean energy future.

Thank you for your attention.