The European Commission’s new Net-Zero Industry Act aims to scale up manufacturing of clean technologies in the EU.
The new act aims to challenge state-backed competition from the United States and China and make sure that Europe is well-equipped for the clean-energy transition.
The Net-Zero Industry Act will strengthen the resilience and competitiveness of net-zero technologies manufacturing in the EU, and make energy systems more secure and sustainable. It will create better conditions to set up net-zero projects in Europe and attract investments, with the aim that the Union’s overall strategic net-zero technologies manufacturing capacity approaches or reaches at least 40 per cent of the Union’s deployment needs by 2030.
This will accelerate the progress towards the EU’s 2030 climate and energy targets and the transition to climate neutrality, while boosting the competitiveness of EU industry, creating quality jobs, and supporting the EU’s efforts to become energy independent.
“We need a regulatory environment that allows us to scale up the clean energy transition quickly,” said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission. “The Net-Zero Industry Act will do just that. 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.”
Together with the proposal for a European Critical Raw Materials Act and the reform of the electricity market design, the Net-Zero Industry Act sets out a clear European framework to reduce the EU’s reliance on highly concentrated imports.
The act will boost manufacturing and help European industries producing green technologies such as solar and wind energy. The commission hopes to achieve its objectives by ensuring businesses obtain permits faster and says public tenders would be considered based on green criteria that could favour European companies.
“We will continue to trade with our partners. Not everything will be made in Europe but more should be made in Europe,” commission vice president Frans Timmermans, said.
Another new planned EU regulation aims to secure supplies of critical raw materials needed to make the most of the electrical products consumers use today, including smartphones.
Green technology production took on greater urgency after the United States announced a $370bn ‘buy American’ subsidy programme for tax credits and clean energy subsidies.
European businesses have warned that state subsidies elsewhere alongside lower energy bills could tempt EU companies to re-locate to Asia or North America, and officials have complained that the US state subsidies will discriminate against Europe’s industry.