Public Guarantees – A Strategic Lever for EU Industrial Competitiveness

European cleantech manufacturers are being forced to turn down orders for lack of bank guarantees, which greatly limits the growth of these clean industries in Europe. Without a targeted solution, European manufacturers and supply chains will suffer competitively, with non-European competitors seizing the market share and undermining Europe’s industrial base.

This Friday, the EIB’s Board of Governors will approve its new Strategic Roadmap for 2024-2027, which will support the EU build leadership and competitiveness in strategic cleantech sectors. Several such sectors are currently under pressure due to the large-scale investments being made by other global players like China and the US. A leaked version of the EIB Strategic Roadmap shows that guarantees are one of the EIB instruments that can efficiently address the financing gap of cleantech start-ups and SMEs by crowding-in private investments.

In response to this, a group of 39 European cleantech innovators, investors, industry associations, researchers and NGOs jointly call on the EIB to support the expansion of its public guarantee, as guarantees are essential in securing Europe’s energy transition and resilience. This tool can scale-up Europe’s cleantech manufacturing significantly and reinforce the global competitiveness of EU green industry.

The signatories of this joint letter strongly support this, as guarantees are essential in securing Europe’s energy transition and resilience. In this joint letter, the group of 39 organizations make five detailed asks that outline how the EIB can help grow strategic cleantech sectors, particularly batteries and long-duration energy storage systems including seasonal storage; electrolysers including stacks; solar photovoltaics including inverters; industrial heat pumps; and innovative renewables (including geothermal and ocean energy).

The EIB’s deployment of a manufacturing guarantee mechanism for the wind industry and electricity grids proves the effectiveness of this instrument, which now needs to be expanded to other strategic cleantech sectors, and include both manufacturing guarantees and loan guarantees to ramp up manufacturing capacity. By doing so, the EIB would be delivering its climate bank mandate – a number one priority in its new Roadmap- by stepping for cleantech and innovative renewables where commercial banks have reached their lending limits, as these limits are not configured to match the speed and ambition of Europe’s energy transition.

Guarantees are an efficient approach to maximizing the impact of the European public budget. The energy transition cannot solely depend on public money. EIB-backed cleantech guarantees can strategically leverage the hundreds of billions of private investment that are still needed to build a competitive and resilient clean industry in Europe.“

Adriana Rodriguez, EU Public Finance Analyst, Climate Strategy & Partners

„European Climate Tech holds the key to achieving net zero. It requires efforts from all of us to close the financing gap for hardware startups. Cleantech guarantees can enable climate tech startups to flourish in Europe, creating green jobs and prosperity.“

Dr. Tobias Lechtenfeld, Executive Director of Tech for Net Zero

The European Green Deal is gaining economic momentum as climate investments grew by 9% in 2022. But this is not enough – to hit Europe’s 2030 climate and energy targets, investment must double to an additional €406 billion per year. In a time of limited fiscal space, guarantees are a useful tool to crowd-in private investment and help to close the climate investment deficit.“

Benoît Leguet, Executive Director of the Institute for Climate Economics

“Europe is facing a cleantech investment gap in the hundreds of billions of euros – far beyond what the EU can afford with subsidies. For each euro mobilised in a public guarantee, ten to twenty euros can be invested in our cleantech manufacturing capacity. This is our ticket to scale and success in strategic technologies.” 

Jules Besnainou, Executive Director of Cleantech for Europe