Net-Zero Industry Act to support steel decarbonisation: Eurofer

Eurofer has welcomed the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE)’s decision to recognise all steel decarbonisation technologies as net-zero and introduce binding sustainability criteria for clean technologies in public procurement. The association says this is a positive development for the decarbonisation of the steel sector.

The new measures included in the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA) should ensure faster implementation of EU steel decarbonisation projects at industrial scale. It is now essential to maintain the momentum towards a successful transition, the European steelmakers’ association observes.

“Steel companies have announced substantial investments in multiple EU member states, with groundbreaking low-carbon projects scheduled for as early as 2025 and 2026,” Eurofer director general Axel Eggert says in a note sent to Kallanish.

“Innovative processes, including hydrogen-based steelmaking and Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage [CCUS], will now benefit from faster permitting procedures. At the same time, the introduction of sustainability criteria in all public procurement auctions for net-zero technologies will help establish much-needed lead markets for green products,” he adds.

The provisions proposed by ITRE reaffirm the principle of technological neutrality and acknowledge the essential role of hydrogen-based, electricity-based and CCUS technologies to achieve EU climate targets, Eurofer notes. The ITRE report underlines that CCUS can only work by developing a fully-fledged value chain approach, taking into consideration infrastructure, cross-border rules for transportation as well as standardisation.

Overall, the measures will lower the risk of delaying the transition due to lengthy and complex administrative procedures, while rewarding environmental benefits by supporting the use of low-carbon components and materials that come with a premium, such as steel.

“While lead markets can certainly help, we still need to secure enough financial incentives to level the playing field with our global competitors. The EU cannot risk lagging behind if we want to lead the clean tech race and ensure our strategic autonomy in a world subject to ever-increasing geopolitical risks,” Eggert concludes.

MEPs voted in, with amendments, NZIA on Wednesday, setting a target for Europe to produce 40% of net-zero technologies based on National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) and to capture 25% of the global market value for these technologies. It also set an EU level target for annual CO2 injection capacity by 2030 of 50 million tonnes. Without these measures, “Europe would face decarbonisation by deindustrialisation,” says lead MEP Christian Ehler.

Adam Smith Poland