What are the European energy technology dependencies, and how can those be measured?

This study will be the first to assess dependence on energy technology in Europe. The objective is to better understand the dependence of the EU on energy technologies and to specifically consider its impacts on the security of energy supply and on the ambition for the EU to become world leading in renewable energy.

Security of supply is a major concern of EU policy making within the area of energy. Nevertheless, direct imports of fuels, gas or electricity are not the only way in which Europe is dependent on imports. European domestic energy production and even energy production from renewable sources typically depend on imports of goods, raw materials, and knowledge. Manufacturing and selling energy technologies involve players located in various parts of the globe. One of the challenges of this global value chain is its external dependence, since the production and deployment of energy technologies in Europe rely on supplies and activities from third countries.

Trinomics’ study on energy technology dependence will assess whether the value chain elements such as raw material, manufacturing equipment and intellectual property rights are imported from outside Europe. The study covers the main renewable energy sources, as well as other low-carbon energy technologies such as energy storage, hydrogen & fuel cells, carbon capture, storage and utilization (CCS/CCU) amongst others.

Some key EU dependencies (orange) and strengths (green) along the wind energy value chain
  • The goal is to provide a common definition of technology dependence, and propose the metrics that can measure it within the respective value chains of the different technologies. Moreover, the methodology proposed will serve as a tool for policy makers and industry stakeholders to identify critical dependencies on energy technologies, as well as to keep track of their progress over the years. The timely identification of the EU’s dependencies on energy technologies can be used to guide research and mitigation strategies to overcome these challenges and increase both the resilience of the EU’s energy system in the long-term, and the EU competitiveness in the global market.