This webinar was presented by the GLOBSEC Energy Transition Task Force in cooperation with the European Commission and European Investment Bank to highlight progress being made in CEE clean energy and discuss the kind of support that is available and needed to push forward more projects to unlock the region’s energy transition. While there is positive financial and policy momentum, the reality on the ground is moving more slowly.

Both VP Maroš Šefčovič and VP Lilyana Pavlova pledged support for continued CEE public-private engagement from EU and national levels.  As a next step, GLOBSEC will formulate a letter to European institutions and national governments summarizing feedback from CEE energy companies focusing on impediments to the roll-out of green projects and how to overcome them.

“We are at a time when we have a lot of financial resources at the European and global level, financial markets are still open to spending, but we have to be sure the money is spent in the right way.” Vazil Hudak, Deputy Chairman, GLOBSEC

Opening remarks by:

  • Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President, Interinstitutional relations and foresight, European Commission
  • Lilyana Pavlova, Vice President, European Investment Bank

Discussants:

  • Juraj Krajcar, Chairman of the Board of Directors, ZSE Energia
  • Kamil Cermak, Chairman of the Board and CEO, CEZ ESCO
  • Marian Bocek, Co-founder and CEO, InoBat Auto
  • Tomas David, Vice Chairman of the Board, EP Power Europe; Chairman of the Board and CEO, EP Energy
  • Adam Varga, Head of Strategy, MVM
  • Jurgen Knie, COO, Manz Group

Moderated by:

  • Vazil Hudak, Deputy Chairman, GLOBSEC

“What does the EU budget and recovery deal do for the CEE region? It means we have to embrace this twin green and digital transition and add to this resilient approach much more than it was up to now” – Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President, Interinstitutional relations and foresight, European Commission

  • The message to governments and representatives of the industry is that we must immediately start strategizing on how to use this “financial bazooka that was adopted over the weekend” to shift from economies of the past to the future, more green, digital and resilient
  • The European Commission expects Member States recovery plans by October, tied to structural reforms and governance and climate conditionality linked to national energy and climate plans for transforming the energy systems
  • Aiming to kick off new 7-year budget spending 1 January so good projects need to be ready, especially in CEE which struggles to absorb funds and use them efficiently
  • The European Commission will propose new own resources for the EUR 750 billion loans forming Next Generation EU, including (i) a plastic tax, (ii) carbon border adjustment mechanism that also addresses carbon leakage, (iii) extending ETS to aviation and maritime, (iv) digital tax
  • Energy storage – both batteries and hydrogen – is key to delivering the EU Clean Energy Package and for future industry, which gave way to the European Battery Alliance (EBA) linked to e-mobility and the infrastructure of the 21st century aiming to seek to capture all part of the value chain
  • Batteries plus software represent 60% of e-car value, and over 3 years the EBA mobilized EUR 200 billion using the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) ecosystem to leverage private investment from state funding
  • The EU hydrogen alliance followed the EBA and up next is raw materials where the EU is especially dependent on China and for example, the mining sector for lithium can cover 80% from own resources but needs to develop processing plants and refineries
  • There will be a new regulation on batteries on October aiming for greenest most sustainable batteries in the world coming from Europe

“Focus of recovery should not be going back to where we were before the crisis but really one step ahead, being more ambitious and looking forward” Lilyana Pavlova, Vice President, European Investment Bank

  • To start with, resources are available but we need to have well-prepared projects
  • EU has a very ambitious long-term goal and the COVID-19 economic crisis has raised some fresh doubts about achieving it, but both can be addressed simultaneously and in fact, the crisis is an opportunity for everyone
  • EIB will complement and support recovery efforts for green and digital transformation
  • As climate bank aiming to invest EUR 1 trillion in climate action and environmental sustainability until 2030 while increasing its share to 50% of total lending
  • The Energy sector is the core ambition because investment needs are huge, about EUR 400 billion/yr
  • Transformation and green investment needs to reduce CO2 emissions in CEE are higher than in other countries
  • Adopted new energy lending policy supporting energy efficiency and phasing out support of fossil fuels end 2021, some natural gas applications like CHP and district heating can qualify but the point is new clean technologies
  • Governments, local authorities, businesses and NGOs all need to come together to ensure the best use of funds available to achieve common objectives

CEE Energy Company Profiles:

  • ZSE’s ACON was the first cross border smart grid project to be selected as a Project of Common Interest and a second phase is under development that will incorporate renewables and looking into hydrogen as a storage
  • CEZ considers nuclear an important part of energy mix alongside renewable sources in its commitment to decarbonisation
  • InoBat Auto is looking to scale up R&I in e-mobility from discovery to delivery, building on the industrial heritage of CEE with German and American partnerships and technology transfer to bring talent into the region
  • EPH involved in German hydrogen and battery storage projects and working to transform conventional businesses
  • Hungary and MVM have agreed on a majority coal phaseout strategy by 2025 with natural gas providing needed flexibility for short and possibly mid-term transition while solar and geothermal are developed
  • Manz as a leading equipment manufacturer for batteries is looking for co-financing to compete with subsidized Chinese players

Concluding remarks:

VP Sefcovic

  • ‘Standard treatment’ is making the transition difficult but there is a strong political framework being developed to create a more conducive environment and improve conditions
  • This is not only a priority for myself and the Commission but also the German Council presidency and we will work to eliminate administrative burdens to get projects off the ground faster
  • Now we must engage national governments to help shape recovery plans and ensure funds are going to these clean energy projects

Maroš Šefčovič and Lilyana Pavlova

  • Tremendous potential in CEE that needs to be unlocked and developed
  • The time of grant funding has passed, they are not enough and we must mobilize funding from capital markets and blending financial instruments
  • There should be more attention to gender parity in energy panels and discussions like this Transport lending policy under review and will be fully aligned with European Green Deal and Paris Agreement, let’s discuss projects that will transform our transport sector infrastructure