When the European Union, represented by the European Commission, joined MI in 2016, we knew that we were joining forces with the world’s leading countries in clean energy research, united with private partners behind a shared vision on the fight against climate change. We saw the potential of accelerating technologies which would bring transition towards a cleaner, less polluting energy system world wide. With the European Green Deal, and the ambition to become the first carbon neutral continent, Europe is leading the way towards a world in which clean energy is available and affordable to all.
Mission Innovation inaugural Ministerial (L-R): Tord Lien, Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Norway; Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Secretary of Energy, Mexico; James Gordon Carr, former Minister, Natural Resources Canada; Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President, Energy Union; Harsh Vardhan, Cabinet Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, India and Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy, US (https://enb.iisd.org/energy/mi/2016/)
Over the last five years, our partnerships in Mission Innovation has brought many opportunities for cooperation on energy innovation with other global research programs. We have also been able to exchange best practices, avoid duplication of efforts and get inspiration from different approaches. Through Mission Innovation we have massively increased public research funding for clean energy and ensured that the work of our researchers and innovators is open to the world. For this fifth anniversary we would like to showcase five highlights of the many benefits of our participation:
1. Increasing EU clean energy funding
EU programmes contributed over USD 0.5 billion to the USD 4.9 billion increase in annual investment in clean energy innovation since MI’s launch. EU funding supported clean energy projects at different levels of technological maturity, in line with the priorities of the EU Energy Union Strategy: energy security, efficiency and renewables, but also the integration of the energy market and climate action.
2. Supporting MI Innovation Champions
Under MI, the EU designed, developed and implemented the Mission Innovation Champions programme – a prize programme that recognizes and supports innovative individuals who are accelerating the clean energy revolution by working on key clean energy research and technology developments. By supporting cross-border exchanges of ideas and talent, and by building a community of visionaries committed to the promise of clean energy research and development, the program activates and engages a new generation of researchers, inventors and leaders. The first cohort of MI Champions was announced in May 2019. The European Commission continued its leadership of the MI Champions programme by launching a second cohort of MI Champions programme in June 2020.
3. Creating a hydrogen valleys
Working with partners on the Innovation Challenge for hydrogen, the EU funded a hydrogen valleys platform, which includes detailed information about 30+ hydrogen valleys across the world which can be used as a lessons learnt platform and can guide policy making. We plan to fund further hydrogen valley projects through the EU’s Clean Hydrogen Partnership that is in preparation. The platform will go live in January 2021 with more information available at https://www.h2v.eu/
4. Launching Breakthrough Energy Ventures – Europe with Bill Gates
In October 2018, the EU created Breakthrough Energy Ventures – Europe (BEV-E), an investment facility for promising early-stages companies developing disruptive technologies that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in electricity, transport, agriculture, manufacturing and buildings. The program is co-funded equally by the Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy and InnovFin, a financial instrument funded by the EU Horizon 2020, which guaranteed the contribution by the European Investment Bank.
5. Developing the Comfort and Climate Box
Our participation in the Innovation Challenge for affordable heating and cooling in buildings resulted in developing the Comfort and Climate Box, an innovative concept to improve energy efficiency in buildings. The Box integrates heating, cooling, and energy storage solutions into a compact and multifunctional device, compatible with a smart energy grid. It is designed to receive multiple energy inputs, use and store energy to provide heating and cooling for a building at the lowest cost, with the lowest impact on the electricity grid, or in a way that generates the lowest amount of CO2 emissions.
“Mission Innovation demonstrated over the past five years that by working together we can increase investment and accelerate innovation for clean energy. It’s time to raise the game and demonstrate, through missions, how technological innovation can address global challenges. The European Green Deal will lead the way, but more carbon neutral continents are needed for clean and sustainable planet.”
– Maryia Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth
The EU remains a proud member of MI and looks forward to collaboration with current members and partners. We hope that other countries and partners will be inspired by MI achievements and encouraged by its enthusiasm further to accelerate clean energy transition for all.