Towards a Net-Zero Industry

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The dawn of a new era for the industry might be in sight as the world is now entering an era of green production through the application of clean technologies.

It’s about a collective action in which almost all major economies combine their climate, energy security and clean industrial production policies.

Such actions are the Green Transition recently established in Japan, India’s PLI scheme (Production Linked Incentive Scheme), and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022, as the United States of America proposed.

The IRA creates uncertainties regarding the direction of US trade and foreign policy.

At the same time, the massive package of subsidies that fall under this law causes enormous concern in the EU.

The EU worries over the possible movement of their members to US soil.

Following the US initiatives, the EU proposed the implementation of the Net–Zero Industry Act legislation (NZIA) in March, seeking to scale up the adoption of clean technologies by member states and to ensure that the EU is properly prepared for the implementation of this transition.

The Net–Zero Industrial Act belongs to  The Green Deal Industrial Plan.

An appropriately adapted industry plan that aims to strengthen the objectives of the European Green Agreement for climate and energy until 2030, with the ultimate goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

The NZIA is a major act for the EU as it promotes and enhances the use of clean technologies in production.

It supports the transition to cleaner energy with extremely low or even zero greenhouse gas emissions (green transition).

According to the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the NZIA will set the regulatory environment to achieve a rapid transition to clean energy and create the best conditions in specific sectors to meet the goal of zero emissions by 2050.

The NZIA proposal creates the conditions to facilitate investments in green/clean production technologies and ease the implementation of those by the producers.

The law also covers the products, components and equipment necessary to manufacture the technologies that will transform the existing industry into a net–zero industry.

The proposed legislative proposal Net – Zero Industrial Act is based on the following pillars:

  • Facilitating Investments: Reducing the Administrative burden of investments, simplifying permit-granting processes – priority to strategic projects while the maximum licencing period will not exceed 12-18 months.
  • Accelerating CO2 capture: 50 Mt CO2 by 2030.
  • Ensuring Access to Useful Information.
  • Facilitating Access to Market: Easier access to public contracts and auctions/tenders and to schemes that aim to support private demand from consumers. Integrating sustainability and resilience criteria. Cultivating steady public demand for zero–emission technologies by providing financial incentives to businesses.
  • Enhancing Skills for Quality Job Creation: specialised workforce, European Academies specialised in clean technologies for a zero-emission industry, reskill and upskill courses.
  • Encouraging and Promoting Innovation: Promoting and supporting innovative ideas in a controlled environment through sandboxes – a priority for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Net–Zero Industry Act emphasises  the importance of clean technologies and energy sources from renewable resources to achieve climate neutrality while at the same time it promotes technologies and actions that exempt the industry from carbon emissions:

Solar photovoltaic and thermal technologies, Onshore wind and offshore renewable technologies, Battery/storage technologies, Heat pumps and geothermal energy technologies, Electrolysers, and fuel cells, Sustainable biogas/biomethane technologies, Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, Grid technologies and many others related to zero – emissions industry.

The contribution of the proposed legislation may be of great importance.

It can lead to a new era, free of the pollutants that today characterise almost all production processes. At the same time, it may improve the competitiveness of European industrial production.

 

Kyriaki Koumenidou, Junior Environmental Expert, ideopsis Ltd