The European Commission has published its long-awaited Net Zero Industry Act, a proposal aiming at boosting Europe’s green industry in order to achieve the ambitions of the Green Deal Industrial Plan.
The proposed regulation is a key part of the EU’s response to America’s monumental green subsidies package — and aims to ensure that at least 40% of EU nations’ demand for cleantech is made domestically by 2030.
The proposal sets out targets for technologies deemed necessary to decarbonise the unions’ economy, a move aimed at preventing the EU from deepening its reliance on countries like China.
“We need a regulatory environment that allows us to scale up the clean energy transition quickly. The Net Zero Industry Act will do just that,” said the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
“It will create the best conditions for those sectors that are crucial for us to reach net zero by 2050: technologies like wind turbines, heat pumps, solar panels, renewable hydrogen as well as CO2 storage. Demand is growing in Europe and globally, and we are acting now to make sure we can meet more of this demand with European supply.”
“If we want to get to climate neutrality as we plan in 2050 and if you want to use all the opportunities this industrial revolution is throwing at us and ward off the challenges … we will need a massive scale-up of clean tech manufacturing,” Commission vice president Frans Timmermans added.
Talks on the proposal reportedly went down to the wire, as commissioners sought to resolve a fight over whether to include nuclear energy as a sustainable investment. The final text leaves the EU’s stance on the matter unclear. Nuclear energy is not included in a list of “strategic net zero technologies” — detailed in an annexe to the legal text — that can benefit from faster permitting and easier access to funding.
However, elsewhere in the text, a formal definition of net zero technologies includes “advanced technologies to produce energy from nuclear processes with minimal waste from the fuel cycle” and “small modular reactors.”
Among the technologies designated as “strategic” are solar, onshore and offshore wind, battery and storage, heat pumps and geothermal energy, electrolysers and fuel cells, biomethane, carbon capture and storage and grid technologies.
Alongside the Act, the Commission has proposed a new European Critical Raw Materials Act and the reform of the electricity market design, both of which are designed to reduce high-value imports and create an indigenous market for those sectors. The Commission has also proposed that a “European Hydrogen Bank” is set up to boost green hydrogen production and imports across the bloc.
The proposed Acts will be discussed and agreed upon by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union before their adoption and entry into force.
A link to the full announcement can be found here.
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