Logo of ERLG – Energy Resilience Leadership Group

Cleantech at Scale: From Venture Capital to Project and Growth Finance

3 min read
Group image of members of the Energy Resilience Leadership Group  including Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, Cleantech Entrepreneurs, as well as Breakthrough Energy founder Bill Gates. ©Siemens Energy 2024

Berlin, Germany – 08.05.2024. Today's meeting of the Energy Resilience Leadership Group convened a who-is-who of Germany's leading foundations, senior policymakers including Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, Cleantech Entrepreneurs, as well as Breakthrough Energy founder Bill Gates.

The meeting was hosted by Siemens Energy’s CEO Christian Bruch and Anne-Laure de Chammard, and included an impressive tour of the Berlin electrolyser plant – that’s cleantech at scale.
Inspired by the German government’s ongoing support to startups, this High-Level Foundation Roundtable explored the role of German foundations in closing the financing gap in scaling cleantech.

Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action

Bill Gates with two Siemens Ernergy workers. ©Siemens Energy 2024

Throughout the day, the discussions underscored the global potential of German cleantech, which includes a wide range of technologies in the energy sector, as well as innovation aimed at decarbonizing industry, fostering sustainable transport, developing net-zero buildings, and promoting low-emission agriculture. The discussions also included different public financing mechanisms geared to mobilize more private growth capital for cleantech startups.

Entrepreneurs from across Europe are already actively bringing hundreds of such solutions to the market, often building on many years of deep-tech research. They require large capital investments to produce at scale. In fact, the key challenge in Germany and Europe is not how to start a cleantech company. It is about scaling, commercializing, and internationalizing. A substantial financing cleantech gap remains as many startups struggle to finance first-of-a-kind production facilities as they scale.

Bill Gates, Founder Breakthrough Energy

Bill Gates is listening to Robert Habeck. ©Siemens Energy 2024

This challenge finally needs tackling and will require a collective effort by institutional investors including insurance, banks, as well as foundations, and private offices. Europe’s venture capital market alone is not able to close the financing gap. Startups require a range of investors to scale up cleantech innovation, including debt and project finance, mezzanine, and other forms of funding. Philanthropic capital and patient, risk-tolerant capital from private offices can make the difference between a plant being built or not; between being bankable or not; between being cost-competitive or not.

While Europe is extremely strong in publicly funded research it is slowly turning into an incubator for the world because innovation is moving to North America and Asia for growth finance. The warnings are clear: without cleantech finance, Europe faces the scenario of turning into an industrial museum. Closing the financing gap thus has much to do with strengthening Europe’s industrial base, creating green jobs, and securing prosperity.

The Energy Resilience Leadership Group will continue to engage with governments, public and private investors, foundations and private offices to develop effective solutions to close the cleantech financing gap. Such instruments could include cleantech guarantees, support for structuring of an infra-venture fund for FOAK finance, and support for other risk management instruments to unleash the scaling of cleantech solutions in Europe.

Further details

SIFTED: https://sifted.eu/articles/germany-bill-gates-climate-fund-news
KfW Capital: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/kfw-capital_transformation-stiftungen-energiewende-activity-7196053086170144769-MX62

Learn more about the latest developments at ERLG

©2024 ERLG. All Rights Reserved