European Council adopts position on Net-Zero Industry Act; ‘positive’ move for steel decarbonization

The European Council adopted Dec. 7 its position on a framework of measures to sustain Europe’s net-zero technology products manufacturing ecosystem, including for decarbonizing steel, called the Net-Zero Industry Act.

The main aim of this proposal is to accelerate the industrial deployment of critical technologies to support the transition toward climate neutrality, with the proposed act seeking to facilitate the conditions for investment based on a list of key technologies, by simplifying the permit granting procedures and prioritizing strategic projects.

The Net-Zero Industry Act sets out the indicative benchmark of reaching 40% of production to cover EU’s needs in strategic technology products, like solar photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, batteries and heat pumps, the council said in the statement.

The proposal also outlines specific targets for carbon capture and storage, with an annual injection capacity of at least 50 million mt CO2 to be achieved by 2030.

The inclusion of transformative industrial technologies for the decarbonization of energy-intensive sectors, such as steel, in the list of net-zero technologies in the general approach adopted by the Council on the Net-Zero Industry Act, sends a positive signal at a crucial time when governments are deliberating urgent measures to protect the climate at COP28 in Dubai, European steel association Eurofer said.

The Net-Zero Industry Act is one of the three essential legislative initiatives of the Green Deal Industrial Plan, together with the Critical Raw Material Act and the reform of the electricity market design, to support the transition and to keep the competitiveness of European industry on the path to climate neutrality.

The general approach agreed will be negotiated with the European Parliament Dec. 13. So far, as compared to the European Commission’s proposal, the council position increases the list of strategic net-zero technologies to 10 from eight, by including nuclear and sustainable alternative fuels. It also makes clear that this should not affect either member states’ right to determine their energy mix or the allocation of EU funds during the current multiannual budget.

The mandate also enlarges the list of non-strategic net-zero technologies to biotechnology climate and energy solutions, other nuclear technologies and transformative industrial technologies for energy-intensive industries.

Author Annalisa Villa