Net Zero Industry Act: boosting clean technologies in Europe

Europe is lagging behind in the deployment of clean energy technologies but a new EU initiative called the Net Zero Industry Act aims to improve the situation.

The case for supporting clean energy technologies

The deployment of clean energy technologies, such as solar and wind energy installations but also carbon storage, is essential for reaching the EU's 2030 and 2050 climate targets.

According to a 2023 report by the International Energy Agency, if countries around the globe fully implement their energy and climate pledges, the market for key clean energy technologies could increase more than three times by 2030 compared with its current value and jobs in the sector could rise from six million today to 14 million.

However, Europe largely imports these technologies, while countries outside the EU have stepped up their efforts to expand their clean energy manufacturing capacity.

The objectives of the Net Zero Industry Act

In March 2023, the European Commission proposed the Net Zero Industry Act, which should help strengthen the European manufacturing capacity when it comes to clean energy technologies.

The act is part of the European Green Deal and should provide the basis for an affordable, reliable, and sustainable clean energy system. This will in turn increase the competitiveness and resilience of the EU’s industry.

According to the Commission, the legislation should also reduce the risk of replacing the EU's past reliance on Russian fossil fuels with new strategic dependencies.

Find more about the EU's green transition.

Key elements of the Net Zero Industry Act

The act puts forward measures aimed at ensuring that by 2030 the EU is able to produce at least 40% of its own needs for green technologies. The technologies the act aims to promote include solar photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies; onshore wind and offshore renewable technologies; battery/storage technologies and others.

The act sets a target that the EU should be able to store at least 50 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.

The rules also aim to support the development of the skills needed for the clean energy industries at EU and local levels.

Find out more about carbon removals

What do MEPs propose?

Parliament’s industry committee approved its position on the legislation in October 2023. In their amendments, committee members proposed:

  • broadening the scope of the draft legislation to include components, materials, and machinery for producing clean energy technologies
  • coming up with a wider, more comprehensive list of technologies covered
  • speeding up the permit process
  • creating conditions for setting up clean technology industry parks

Next steps

In November 2023, Parliament adopted its position on the Net Zero Industry Act. The Parliament is now ready to start negotiations with the Council on the final shape of the law.