cleantech news august

Big investment, the EV boom and Europe’s energy innovations: three topics that dominated cleantech news in August

Cleantech News #1: Big investment looks at cleantech

What is happening?

Despite a global recession looming, ESG investing has been making the headlines.

Back in May, Bill Gates’ investment fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures announced that it was launching a European clean energy fund. Energy Impact, one of the largest U.S. energy investors, has started investing in European energy start-ups, with plans to support 15-20 businesses with a three-digit million amount.Even Wood Mackenzie, the global energy, chemicals, renewables, metals and mining research and consultancy group, is encouraging midstream oil and gas companies to look into renewable energy investment.  

Why should cleantech companies be paying attention?

The smaller fish are now catching the attention of the big sharks. Not so long ago, receiving large sums of funding was the exception rather than the rule for European energy start-ups. This is no longer the case. Not out of pure altruism, but simply because ESG investing makes better returns. And with the Bill Gates-backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Energy Impact setting their sights on European start-ups, we can expect other similar-size U.S. investment funds to join the action as well.

Larger sums of money will drive more applicants, and cleantech companies will have to face increased competition in order to appeal to those funds. Strategic communications will play an even more significant role in helping them stand out from the crowd, which is why they should pay attention to their branding, how they communicate about themselves and what the press is saying about them.

Cleantech News #2: Electric vehicles everywhere

What is happening?

Back in 2019, many reports predicted that 2020 would be the pivotal year for EVs. When looking at the green recovery plans adopted by the most prominent European economies, we can safely say that this prediction was an understatement.

Just this month in Germany, Europe’s largest auto market, the EV market share hit an all-time record of 11.4%, a fourfold increase from August 2019. Meanwhile, the French capital Paris wants to put more emphasis on electric carsharing to help reduce congestion and clean the city’s air.

Why should cleantech companies be paying attention?

The green recovery packages announced so far have laid the perfect foundations for an EV boom. With more big players entering the market and new models launched, competition is going to increase not only between car manufacturers but also between the suppliers providing the batteries and motors equipping those EVs.

With more EVs on the streets, the need for more extensive and efficient charging infrastructures will also increase, as will strain on the grid. From charging network operators to energy aggregators, cleantech companies across many sectors will have a decisive role to play in enabling a successful and prosperous EV industry.

With so many players now on the market, communications will be a crucial differentiator. CEOs who know they have the best technology in place need to focus on how they can strategically position themselves as industry experts and ensure that their company’s brand and messaging reflect their market-leading position.

Cleantech News #3: Europe, the blueprint for the energy industry of tomorrow?

What is happening?

In last month’s cleantech news, we talked about how the EU was integrating energy into its Green New Deal. Since then, we’ve seen legislative changes happening at country-level.

In Germany, some federal states have introduced rules stating that new-build homes must have solar PV panels installed on roofs. Whereas in Spain, the solar energy company EDP is building the first solar district in Zaragoza, which will be one of the first solar systems installed on a public building in the country. This decision aligns with an EU energy directive from 2018, which stipulates that residents of the same building can share a common solar power system on the roof. Spain is one of the first countries to implement this directive, and their way of doing it could become a role model for the rest of the EU.

Why should cleantech companies be paying attention?

For any cleantech company looking to internationalise, being able to offer products and services that have a proven track record and are likely to be adopted by other countries in the future can only strengthen their USP.

European countries have often been at the forefront of innovation when it comes to the energy industry. What had been missing so far was a coordinated, EU-wide approach. Despite laws being passed by the European Commission, few countries were biting the bullet and actually implementing them. The recent law changes mentioned above show that things are starting to get moving.

More importantly, Europe’s innovative approach in the energy sector is catching the attention of the U.S. Recently, Tesla announced its intention to become an energy provider in Germany, while Joe Biden’s climate plan is evidently inspired by what is already happening in Europe.

All in all, what does it signal? Things are accelerating in the energy sector and cleantech companies need to be ready. With larger competitors and bigger investors entering the game, it will become harder to stand out. We do not know yet who is going to be the next President of the United States, but it’s clear that the outcome will also impact Europe.

With the stakes being higher than ever, cleantech companies should ensure that their communications strategies are well-proven and ready to be implemented efficiently and effectively.

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