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All news, insights and events
All news, insights and events

Addressing the Energy Transition: A Collective Endeavor

Tech Arena image Elena

By Elena Bou, Innovation Director & Co-Founder, EIT InnoEnergy. Watch Elena speak on this topic during the Tech Arena conference 2024, in a short video below.

How InnoEnergy accelerates the energy transition

As we navigate through the pivotal era of the energy transition, the journey toward a sustainable and low-carbon future presents both unparalleled opportunities and formidable challenges.


InnoEnergy was established in 2010, with backing from the European Commission and supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), to accelerate the energy transition through innovation and the industrialisation of sustainable energy. Over the past 13 years, we have focused on identifying early-stage innovators with promising solutions to lower energy costs, ensure reliable supply, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To support these endeavours, we’ve provided financial backing. But what it is more important, we have leveraged the expertise of our 200-strong workforce across Europe and the United States and managed our trusted industry ecosystem of partners, to amplify the business cases of these innovators, making their ventures bigger, sooner, and safer.


To date, we’ve supported 500 startups and built a portfolio of 200 companies, including four industrial unicorns, all aimed at making a significant impact. We are optimistic that by 2030, our portfolio will contribute to reducing emissions by 1.1 gigatons per year, a substantial dent in Europe’s annual emissions of 3 gigatons.

Opportunities within the cleantech sector

The opportunities within the cleantech sector are vast. Currently, the energy markets that are electrified account for around 3,000 terawatt hour per year (Twh/y). In contrast, those not yet electrified amount to 10,000 terawatt hours. As we aim to fulfil the ambitious commitments set for 2030, the electrified energy market is set to double. This amplifies the first challenge: the dire need for electricity, underscored by the necessity to expand the grid. Approximately 9 million kilometres of new grid infrastructure are required to support this massive electrification effort. Furthermore, energy storage, beyond just batteries, is a pivotal component of this transition. The sheer magnitude of these requirements signals a new phase of the energy transition. 

Is society ready?

Reflecting on the societal readiness for such a transformative shift, it becomes apparent that the energy transition is not merely a technological or infrastructural challenge; it is a societal evolution. Historical energy transitions, such as the shift from oil and gas, have altered consumption patterns and significantly impacted societal values and economic models.  


The impending transition demands a re-evaluation of our value system and consumption habits. If we are to navigate this transition successfully, we must be prepared for a reimagining of lifestyle choices and economic structures, considering the high costs of inaction against the backdrop of necessary change. 

The need to operationalise regulations

Regulatory frameworks already in place offer a solid foundation for facilitating this transition. However, the key lies not in formulating new regulations but in effectively implementing and utilising existing ones. Member states have financial mechanisms at their disposal , such as the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework that are flexible enough to accelerate green investments.  


The goal of achieving 42.5% renewable energy in Europe by 2030 and ensuring 40% of the manufacturing capacity is housed within Europe by the same year highlights the urgent need to operationalise these regulations. 

Our investment strategy

Innovation and technology are indispensable in reducing CO2 emissions, with 35% of emission reduction efforts hinging on technological advancements. Our investment strategy at InnoEnergy reflects a dual approach, balancing long-term technological investments, such as in companies like Novatron Fusion, with immediate solutions like gigafactories.  


The launch of the European Battery Alliance has spurred a vibrant market opportunity for sustainable batteries, reinforcing the significance of fair competition and innovation in accelerating the energy transition. 


Industrial policy and global cooperation

Yet, the energy transition transcends technological and regulatory dimensions, entering the realm of industrial policy and global cooperation. The competition among European countries to attract net-zero industries, juxtaposed with international dynamics involving the IRA and China, underscores the global nature of this challenge. It necessitates a shift from a mindset of dependency to one of interdependency, fostering collaborative efforts across borders to address this universal issue. 

The journey ahead

The path forward requires a collective effort that embraces innovation, leverages existing regulatory frameworks, and fosters global collaboration. The challenges are significant, yet the opportunities for transformative impact are immense. As we venture into this new era of the energy transition, our approach must be holistic, integrating technological, regulatory, and societal dimensions. The journey ahead, while challenging, is filled with potential, and we remain open and eager to engage with innovators who are ready to contribute to this monumental task. 



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