This fact, together with the focus on innovation and development that this region has always shown, is gradually positioning the Basque Country as a benchmark in one of the key sectors for the energy transition of the future.
This is demonstrated by how this region is managing to expand along the entire storage value chain: from the initial stages associated with materials and cell production to the final stages of recycling and second life.
The collaboration of Basque companies and research and technology centers is one of the key factors that further strengthens the Basque Country´s commitment to this industry, which is also critical to ensure the future competitiveness of the region.
An ecosystem with great referents
One of the clues that explain how the Basque Country is managing to become a benchmark in the sector is the presence of large companies that are located in the territory and have a great interest in the development of this value chain.
Firstly, the Basque Country is home to some of the world´s leading energy companies, which are also sector leaders in their commitment to renewable energies and new energy technologies. This is the case of Iberdrola, Petronor or Siemens Gamesa, which are also accompanied by a strong network of companies that, to a greater or lesser extent, are linked to the energy sector and the development of new technological solutions. Here we find leading companies such as IDOM, Sener, Solarpack or Nortegas.
To this we must also add other large companies whose future lies in new energy technologies, on which they are betting heavily. Here we find companies such as those in the transport and mobility sector, where the Basque Country is once again a benchmark thanks to leading companies such as CAF, Irizar, CIE Automotive or Gestamp and the strong presence of international entities such as Mercedes.
In addition, another factor that is influencing the strengthening of the value chain is the collaboration of many of these companies in launching new initiatives to lead the industry. New players are emerging from them, intended to be the spearheads of their activity within the value chain.
This is the case of Basquevolt, the first gigafactory in southwest Europe and the first in the entire continent focused on the manufacture of solid-state cells. Compared to conventional technologies, this new generation of batteries has a higher capacity, greater safety and lower associated costs, which is arousing the interest of major vehicle manufacturers and energy companies.
It is therefore expected that this alternative will dominate the sector in the medium and long term, a perspective in which the Basque Country is favorably positioned thanks to strategic projects such as this one, arising from the collaboration between large companies, research centers such as CIC energiGUNE and the support of the Basque Government.
Such is the value that this project can generate in the local and European industry that even the European Commissioner Maros Šefčovič (considered the great promoter of the energy storage industry in Europe) has blessed the value of this contribution to the technological development of the industry, recognizing last October that "Basque battery technology is very valuable for Europe".
Research and technological development, a key player in boosting local industry
In addition to the presence of large companies associated with the storage sector, other major assets of the Basque Country are its extensive network of research and technological development centers, which allow it to strengthen its position in the industry. This enables the region to develop a clear commitment to innovation and technological disruption in the energy industry, contributing with these advances to the evolution of the Basque business fabric and the related energy model.
Within this group, one of the most outstanding cases is CIC energiGUNE itself. Not only for its research activity, for which it has been considered top 3 in Europe in the field of energy storage, but also for its commitment to the development of technological results transferable to industry. Thanks to this, the center makes a special contribution to boosting the value chain.
Hence, CIC energiGUNE participates in the launch and development of projects such as the aforementioned Basquevolt. In this sense, the center has also contributed to the launching of another reference company in the Basque energy storage sector, such as Bcare (a company oriented to integral services within the storage market).
Other large centers that contribute in a special way to the development of this industry are part of the research and technology centers of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA), to which CIC energiGUNE also belongs.
Likewise, other key agents in this ecosystem are the universities, where the activity of renowned entities such as the Public University of the Basque Country or the University of Mondragon stands out. The presence of these types of institutions in the Basque Country not only strengthens the research activity, but also, thanks to their focus on industry, makes it possible to train qualified professionals who can then be integrated into the industrial-research fabric of their area.
To this ecosystem of companies, centers and universities we must add one more added value: the transcendental contribution and support of the Basque public institutions, led by the Basque Government.
The definition of new energy strategies at regional level (such as the Energibasque plan or the Basque Hydrogen Strategy) or the presence of entities such as the Basque Energy Cluster or the Basque Energy Agency make it possible to coordinate the commitment of the Basque public sector to the development of an innovative and competitive energy industry, capable of responding to the challenges of industry and society, and for which the energy storage sector is key.
In short, this combination of ingredients is what is allowing the Basque Country to establish itself as a reference in one of the emerging industries of the future. All this thanks to its public-private collaboration model that includes a wide range of agents and a comprehensive approach that covers both the research and industrial application stages.
Thanks to this, Euskadi reinforces its position as a pioneering region in innovation and industrial development. Its local value chain and the agents that make it up aspire to position the territory as a reference hub in terms of technology and sustainability in the coming years. Hence, the Basque Country is in the situation to lead this energy transition, becoming one of the spearheads of the European Union itself in the development of the major industrial and climate objectives, which aspire to place our continent as the leading region in new energy and economic models.