Net Zero Industry Act: boosting clean technologies in Europe

Europe is lagging behind in the deployment of clean energy technologies, but new EU legislation 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. In 2030 net greenhouse gas emissions must be down by 55 percent as compared to 1990 levels, while by 2050, net emissions must come down to zero.

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 has so far largely imported these technologies, while countries outside the EU have expanded 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, with the intention to strengthen the European manufacturing capacity when it comes to clean energy technologies.

The act is part of the European Green Deal and will 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.

The legislation is also intended to reduce the risk of replacing the EU's past reliance on Russian fossil fuels with new strategic dependencies.

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 technologies; onshore wind and offshore renewable technologies; battery/storage technologies, heat pumps, hydrogen, biogas, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear technologies.

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

Much faster processes for permits

One impediment in the development of net-zero technologies in the EU has been the lengthy process of getting government permits for new industrial activities. The act aims to make this process much easier and faster.

Geographical concentrations of industries in industry parks will be encouraged to help promote cooperation and the advancement of skills in the field.

Final steps

In February 2024, the Parliament reached an agreement with the Council. MEPs adopted the agreement in April 2024. After confirmation by the Council, the legislation can enter into force.

Net Zero Industry Act