The European Union has joined Mission Innovation, a global initiative on clean energy, at its inaugural ministerial meeting in San Francisco on 1-2 June. This initiative was launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Paris with the aim of reinvigorating and accelerating public and private global clean energy innovation.
In joining Mission Innovation, 20 of the world's major economies, representing 58% of the world population and over 80% of global clean energy research budgets, have pledged to double their government investment in clean energy research and innovation over the next five years. The European Commission has now joined this initiative on behalf of the EU, which funds clean energy under the EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020.
Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union, said: "The European Commission is honoured to be part of Mission Innovation. Scaling up clean energy innovation is key to the success of the European Energy Union and to the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. It also represents a major global economic and industrial opportunity. Mission Innovation therefore coheres perfectly with our upcoming research, innovation and competitiveness strategy."
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, added: "I have set three goals for the EU research and innovation policy - Open Innovation, Open Science, and Open to the World - and Mission Innovation combines all three. Open innovation by bringing a variety of actors together, open science by promoting synergies and the sharing of research results, and openness to the world by being a prime example of a truly global collaboration. I am confident that Mission Innovation is well geared to accelerate the clean energy revolution."
Around €10 billion funding is expected to be allocated to clean energy under Horizon 2020 for the period 2014-2020. Under Horizon 2020, the European Union is set to progressively increase its clean energy research budget each year from 2015 to 2020. Ultimately, the annual budget will have grown from a little under €1 billion per year in 2015 to almost €2 billion per year in 2020, with the average annual budget for the period 2013-2015 as a baseline.
Following COP21, the Commission signalled the EU's intention to join Mission Innovation in the Communication The Road From Paris, assessing the implications of the Paris Agreement. So far six EU Member States – Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, U.K. – and Norway have joined the non-binding initiative, alongside 13 other participants from around the world. The meeting in San Francisco on 1-2 June 2016 was the inaugural event of Mission Innovation.
Countries joining the initiative agreed to step up coordination on research and innovation projects focusing on breakthrough technologies. Priority is given to technologies that can be flexibly adapted to varying economic and energy market conditions in the participating countries and the broader world. Projects covered by the initiative will be designed and managed in a way to attract private investors who would help bring the new technologies to the market.
Mission Innovation members also commit to provide, on an annual basis, transparent and easily-accessible information on their clean energy research and development efforts to promote transparency and engage stakeholders broadly.
Besides Horizon 2020, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is funding Research, Development and Innovation in different sectors including clean energy. In fact, 13 out of the 64 EFSI projects approved so far are for renewable energy.
The EU also contributes to Mission Innovation with its experience from the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan), which was launched in 2007 to coordinate low-carbon R&D activities among EU Member States and other countries who wish to join in.
The European Commission is preparing an integrated research, innovation and competitiveness strategy for the Energy Union. This initiative will be launched in November 2016, and will reflect on the synergies Mission Innovation enables between European and global efforts.