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Sweden’s Green Revolution Creates a Golden Opportunity for the Irish Cleantech Supply Chain

The European Union (EU) has led the way in its commitment to ambitious targets when it comes to the green transition and decarbonisation of our economies. This pursuit, outlined in the Green Deal and Fit For 55 packages, hinges on a complete transformation of the EU's energy sector. The key lies in an effective shift towards energy sources with lower carbon footprints, while ensuring affordability and security of supply for consumers. These changes require a transformation of energy systems across the EU and development of new, clean and renewable energy sources through major investment in key areas such as wind, steel, batteries, and electric vehicles.

Beyond environmental sustainability, the European Union aims to solidify its position as a leader in the burgeoning clean technology sector. While achieving net-zero emissions and limiting negative impact on the climate remains paramount, the economic and geopolitical implications of these efforts hold significant weight. 

The electric vehicle (EV) market exemplifies this point. EV sales in Europe are consistently exceeding forecasts, with projections suggesting two-thirds of new car purchases will be electric by 2030. Should Europe want to be a hub for this flourishing market, it will necessitate developing a robust, end-to-end supply chain in Europe, placing green steel and battery technology at the forefront. To maintain economic strength while leading the fight against climate change, the EU must foster a competitive cleantech industry capable of rivaling the US and China. Securing access to raw materials and fostering domestic production are crucial to prevent dependence on potentially unreliable international supply chains, as recent geopolitical events like the Ukraine war have illustrated. 

Statements from the EU posit that over €700 billion a year will have to be invested to meet these energy transition goals, and the EU is backing its words with action and fighting to keep the development of technologies that foster the transition towards a net-zero economy in Europe. A prime example is the recent €902 million German government investment supporting Swedish firm Northvolt's battery gigafactory in Germany, which ensured this investment stayed on European soil, rather than in the US. 

The Nordics have long-since held the reputation for being the world’s most environmentally minded region and Sweden, in particular, has been a hotbed of cleantech development in Europe.  Europe’s heaviest hitters in this space, namely Northvolt, H2 Green Steel  and the Hybrit initiative (a unique joint venture between SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall working to develop iron and steel without creating CO2 emissions and by using fossil-free energy sources), are all based out of Northern Sweden. Both the EU and the Swedish government are putting all their weight behind making sure these projects can succeed, and Sweden’s unique positioning - low-cost green energy, cutting-edge R&D, and a strong sustainability focus - make it a shining star in Europe's cleantech scene.

Along with these mega-projects and eye-watering investments comes, of course, a business opportunity for the supply chain firms that can contribute their expertise to building these facilities. This is where Irish companies have a best-in-class offer for these industries. We’ve spoken at length about the Irish high-tech construction supply chain’s fantastic successes through the global data centre boom and construction of pharmaceutical plants, as well as the work these companies have done in terms of making these projects more environmentally friendly. What we see now is an opportunity for Irish companies to diversify their portfolio of works, transferring the proficiency and specialist skills they have developed in other high-tech industries to the cleantech sector. While the work the Irish supply chain has done and continues to do on other high-tech projects is exceptional, there is now an opportunity to become the experts in the industries of the future. 

The capability is certainly there from the Irish side – Irish companies are globally renowned for their expertise in mechanical and electrical engineering, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, clean & dry room construction and modular construction, all of which are essential when constructing cleantech facilities. The Irish companies' excellent health and safety and sustainability and equality processes are another significant string to their bow. Furthermore, given that many of these Irish companies have established permanent bases across the Nordics, we expect that they are perfectly positioned to target the cleantech sector and lend their expertise to a sector that needs all the resources it can get. 

The key for the Irish supply chain now is to get involved in these budding opportunities and Enterprise Ireland is here to support this. Get into the market, meet with the companies undertaking these projects and understand how they work and their needs. In May, we will travel with an Irish delegation to Demo North Summit, the key event in Sweden showcasing the green transition of heavy industry, which represents a great chance to do this. 

For more information on this event and our plans, or if you are simply looking to better understand the cleantech landscape in the Nordics and the opportunities that exist, reach out to Susan Byrne, Senior Market Advisor with Enterprise Ireland in Stockholm at

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