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Europe takes on technological leadership in energy storage and electric vehicles

2011 December 7

The Basque Government, represented by the Vice-Minister for Industry and Energy, Xabier Garmendia, participated in the inaugural ceremony of the seminar on energy storage alongside ministers and senior politicians from the European Commission, Germany, France, the United States and Japan.

Europe's commitment to energy storage and electric vehicles consolidates the Basque Government's science and technology strategies and its strategic commitment to the high-added-value sectors associated with the energy industry.

The Basque Country is one of the most active European regions in terms of conducting research into and developing resources for electrochemical storage (high-capacity batteries) and infrastructures for the launch of electric vehicles.

To this end, it boasts an extensive business fabric within the energy industry, research centres such as the CIC EnergiGUNE (which specialises in energy storage), research centres at the different Basque universities and the IBIL company, which manages the charging system for electric vehicles.

This morning, the most important politicians at the head of research and technology development in energy storage and electric vehicles met at the European Commission. The inaugural ceremony of the seminar was attended by representatives from leading institutions who took the opportunity to highlight the support and commitment of their respective countries to the development of a new business fabric focusing on energy. Those present included Michel Ferrandery, the French Minister for Industry; Wolf-Dieter Lukas, the German Federal Minister for Education and Research; Xabier Garmendia, the Basque Vice-Minister for Industry and Energy, representing Spain; and David Howell, representing the Energy Department of the United States Government.
Also taking part in the opening session of this technically focused seminar were other leading figures such as Herbert von Bose, the Director of Industrial Technologies at the European Commission, and Wolfgang Steiger, the President of ERTRAC and the EGCI Advisory Group.

The seminar took place within the framework of the European Green Cars Initiative, which aims to pool the collective efforts being made by the main participating countries to promote research into the storage of energy for electric vehicles. The European Commission's commitment to the initiative is a response to the significant levels of support afforded to the energy industry by the main European economies, recognising it as a major creator of wealth and employment.

After the inaugural ceremony, the speakers in the technical seminar handed over to industry experts from Germany, Spain, France, Austria, the United Kingdom, Italy and Israel, who contributed to three sessions focusing on business-related strengths and competencies in the fields of regional supply, storage and production.

The final session examined the issues of coordination and standardisation, which is of great importance in the creation of a single European market for batteries and supply technologies, and also featured contributions from experts such as the Basque company Cegasa, which has a great deal of experience in producing advanced batteries for electric vehicles.

Capacities of the Basque business fabric

In the Basque Country, the Basque Government and companies and industries within the energy and electronics sectors are committed to developing technologies and business models that are based on energy services. The region boasts an avant-garde industry in this field and energy offers new challenges and opportunities for the creation of competitive, cutting-edge technology that can generate both wealth and employment.

The EnergiBasque strategy, for example, combines energy, science and technology strategies in order to strengthen the energy-services sector and promote sustainable, energy-based mobility. The Basque Country has been able to implement this strategy owing to an industrial and business fabric that is operating at the very highest level, and which is working alongside a network of research centres and universities in three key areas of knowledge: energy storage, electromobility and smart electricity networks. These three crucial and interlinked areas of development are the foundations on which both the European Commission and the major European economies have based their efforts, considering them to represent the best way of progressing towards a future of sustainable energy and the creation of new industries.
In order to underpin these efforts the Basque Government created the CIC EnergiGUNE, an advanced research centre specialising in energy and energy storage, which aims to become a world leader in the field. Similarly, 2010 saw the creation of IBIL, a new company wherein ownership is shared equally between Repsol and the Basque Government (through EVE, the Basque Energy Agency), that aims to develop and launch a charging network for electric vehicles throughout the Basque Country and provide related charging management services.

In short, this series of efforts is intended to place the Basque Country amongst the leading European bodies championing an industry for the future, one which will generate wealth and employment through an extensive, consolidated industrial and business fabric in the field of energy and related services.

More information on the seminar can be found at the following site:

Brussels, December the 7th 2011


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Politicians attending the event
(IX term 2009 - 2012)