Lawmakers in the European Parliament and the Council today announced that they have reached a provisional agreement on the Net Zero Industry Act (NZIA), a new regulation aimed at scaling up industrial and clean technology capacity across Europe .
The agreement follows the introduction of the proposed NZIA by the European Commission in March 2023 and is one of the key elements of its Green Deal Industrial Plan strategy to increase the competitiveness of Europe’s net-zero industries and accelerate the transition from EU to support climate neutrality.
The proposal included a set of measures aimed at scaling up the production of technologies essential for achieving climate neutrality, and setting a target for at least 40% of annual deployment needs for strategic net-zero technologies to be deployed in the EU by 2030 must be produced.
The law supports eight specific technologies, including photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies, onshore wind and offshore renewable energy, batteries and storage, heat pumps and geothermal energy, electrolyzers and fuel cells, biogas/biomethane, carbon capture and storage (CCS), and grid technologies, and sets out a series of targeted actions to support its development in the EU, including streamlining permitting procedures, setting a target to reach 50 million tonnes of annual CO2 storage by 2030, and introducing sustainability and resilience criteria in public tenders and auctions, as well as establishing “Net-Zero Industry Academies” to support the development of a net-zero skilled workforce.
Key aspects of the regulations amended in the agreement include changes to the streamlining of the rules for construction permitting procedures, setting a maximum period of 18 months for issuing a permit for major net-zero technology production projects larger than 1 GW , and 12 months for smaller projects, and with shorter deadlines for strategic projects.
The new agreement also promotes the development of “net-zero acceleration valleys,” or areas where different companies involved in specific technologies concentrate, to create clusters of net-zero-focused industrial activity.
The new rules would also regulate the use of schemes aimed at incentivizing the purchase of green technology products, in addition to defining sustainability and resilience contributions to be taken into account in public procurement procedures, establishing contributions to environmental sustainability as a mandatory minimum requirement, and applying criteria for resilience contributions. , where the supply is considered ‘non-resilient’ if there is a dependence on a third country of more than 50% for a specific strategic ‘net-zero’ technology.
Now that the provisional agreement has been reached, the new rules will have to be formally adopted by the EU Council and Parliament before they become law.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said:
“The political agreement on the Net-Zero Industry Act is an important step toward achieving our ambitious climate and economic goals. It shows our collective commitment to building a more sustainable, resilient and competitive industrial sector in Europe. Together we will make the EU a global leader in the transition to clean energy.”