LONDON (ICIS)–The EU and the US could scale up
and fast-track the deployment of clean
technologies if the two were to integrate their
markets in terms of standardisation, regulatory
alignment, capital flows and mutually
Speaking to ICIS, Ann Mettler, vice president,
Europe for Breakthrough Energy said over the
past decade US investors’ participation in EU
cleantech deals increased sevenfold, while EU
investors’ participation in US cleantech deals
Furthermore, she said that 31% of European
ventures which benefited from US capital had
funding rounds of $100m or more, compared to
only 8%, which did not benefit from US capital.
A report published this summer by Cleantech
Group and supported by Breakthrough Energy, an
international organisation aiming to accelerate
innovation in sustainable energy, also found EU
innovators who had US investors reached equity
growth around 20% faster compared to those
The former director-general and head of the
European Political Strategy Centre at the
European Commission said new geopolitical
dynamics are bringing the EU and the US
together despite a sometimes fractious
relationship in the past caused by diverging
views on digital regulations.
She pointed out that India and China set the
new benchmark in terms of market size, with
China additionally leading the world as far as
solar panel and battery deployment is
“I would say there are real benefits in closer
integration. It doesn’t always have to be
complete alignment but mutual recognition of
standards and regulations are also important,”
For example, she noted that the wind sector is
currently struggling on both sides of the
Atlantic not only because of supply chain
problems but also because there had been an
excess of customisation, which had been pushing
up costs and hit profitability.
Standardisation could be a key catalyst to
fast-track the mass deployment of cleantech,
including wind, at a time when speed and scale
are more important than ever before, she said.
One recent success story is that the EU and the
US have been able to agree on producing a
common charger for heavy duty electric vehicles
at the most recent EU-US Trade and Technology
Council (TTC), she noted.
However, such alignments ought to be expanded
to big-ticket projects including the
harmonisation of power grid equipment on both
sides of the Atlantic.
“This is really low-hanging fruit, which could
be achieved,” she added.
She said the EU and the US were now working to
align the standards defining sustainable
aluminium and steel.
As an agreement may be reached as early as
October, a new standard could have
wide-reaching implications on two fronts.
Firstly, since the EU and US economies,
alongside Canada and the UK, represent a third
of the global economy, meaning that the
standards used for sustainable aluminium and
steel on both sides of the Atlantic could in
fact set standards worldwide and therefore
drive a race to the top.
Secondly, such an agreement could form the
‘kernel’ of a carbon club, where different
countries with similar standards could trade
freely, which in turn could incentivise those
with a higher carbon footprint to improve their
performance in order to also benefit from
The emergence of such a carbon club would
coincide with the EU rolling out its carbon
border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) in 2026 and
following a pilot period which starts from next
month. CBAM aims to equalise the price of
carbon paid for EU products traded under the
EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and
“There hasn’t been a product that has been
targeted yet. If there is an agreement [on
sustainable aluminium and steel] this could be
the kernel of the carbon club,” she added.
Another important workstream for the EU and the
US would be the digitalisation of public
authorities, with a special focus on permitting
to help speed up the deployment of cleantech,
especially wind, solar and power grids.
Finally, EU companies, including start-ups,
could benefit from tapping the US’ liquid
capital markets to scale up operations and
“This is more urgent than ever as the EU’s own
efforts to complete a capital markets union
have been uneven,” she explained. However, she
warned that the EU and the US have a limited
window of opportunity to identify and work on
areas of integration before transatlantic
divergences may reappear.
“At the end of the day, there is a lot more
that unites than divides us. And there is
certainly a lot more we should be able to agree
on than a common charger for heavy duty
electric vehicles,” she said.