On 16 March, the European Commission proposed the Net-Zero Industry Act. This Act aims to scale-up clean tech manufacturing in the EU with the ambition that the EU’s strategic net-zero tech manufacturing capacity should reach at least 40% of the Union’s annual deployment needs by 2030. To do so, the proposal suggests simplifying the regulatory framework, improving the investment environment for the Union’s manufacturing capacity of technologies that are key to meet the Union’s climate neutrality goals, as well as ensuring that the European decarbonised energy system is resilient. The proposal includes the following elements:
· Streamlined permitting deadlines and procedures: Shortened permitting procedures with strict deadlines, depending on project size. Faster for strategic projects.
· One-stop shops and information-sharing
· Crowding-in private investments in net-zero strategic projects by the Commission and Member States
· A Net-zero Industry Europe Platform to advise on the financing of projects
· Sustainability and resilience criteria in auctions
· Sustainability and resilience criteria in public procurement
· Sustainability and resilience criteria in public support measures
· Skills for quality jobs through Net-Zero Industry Academies
· Credentials for skills transparency, transferability and cross-border mobility
· Regulatory sandboxes to promote innovation and to test innovative net-zero technologies in a controlled environment for a limited amount of time
· A Net-Zero Industry Europe Platform as a reference body for the Commission to coordinate actions jointly with Member States including international partnerships
· Objectives and obligations aimed at removing one of the main barriers to CCS (carbon capture and storage)
· Consulting Member States on a proposal to adapt State aid rules until 2025
Despite the relevance of local and regional authorities (LRAs), no references to the active involvement and participation of the sub-national level are made in the proposal.
The Net-Zero Industry Act will be the subject of a dedicated CoR Opinion, for which the ECON Commission has appointed
Mark Speich (DE/EPP), State Secretary for Federal, European and International Affairs and Media of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, as rapporteur.
There will be an exploratory debate on the Net-Zero Industry Act at the ECON meeting of 7 June 2023. The opinion is scheduled for adoption at the plenary session of 5-6 July 2023.
By means of this written consultation, Mr. Speich would like to gather your answers to the following questions:
The Net-Zero Industry Act addresses an existential problem for the EU's green industry leadership, setting the ambitious objective to scale-up clean tech manufacturing in the EU with the goal that the EU’s strategic net-zero tech manufacturing capacity should reach at least 40% of the Union’s annual deployment needs by 2030. What do you think about this ambitious goal? Do you think it is feasible to fulfil this ambition? Do you think the Commission's proposal provides the right measures to enable such a rapid increase in production?
To what extent do you expect territorial cohesion to be affected by the net-zero transformation in general and by the measures proposed in the NZIA more specifically? Which risks or opportunities occur?
The Commission is setting up a Net-Zero Europe Platform with representatives of Member States and the participation of other stakeholders to discuss, exchange information and share best practices on issues such as permitting procedures, skills, sustainability and resilience. Do you think Local and Regional representatives could contribute to this Platform, and in which function (e.g. full members or observers)?
Given the fact that local and regional authorities have a key role to play in promoting training and reskilling, particularly in building the capacity of public-sector workers, which role could LRAs offer when it comes to skills. How can LRAs support the availability and deployment of skills in net-zero technologies. For example, could LRAs promote the development of learning programs for the European Net-Zero Industry Academies or play a role in the recognition of professional qualifications.
The Net Zero Industry Act aims to support the creation of value chains for net zero technologies within the EU. Should it be avoided to focus on particular industries to achieve this goal? Would the exclusion of suppliers of products for
net zero technologies from certain industries within the value chain risk creating economic imbalances? Do you see any risks for example by ignoring market-based outcomes and regulatory strength? Which challenges arise for LRAs as a result?
How do LRAs see the role of trade with countries beyond China – could the proposed legislation negatively affect imports and trade relations across the board?
Which role could be played by LRAs in hosting regulatory sandboxes and in streamlining regulation?
Are there other pieces of EU legislation that need to be changed because they make it more difficult to achieve the objectives of the Net Zero Industry Act and may even lead to the result that investments in green technology are not made?
You are kindly invited to contribute to this consultation by sending your replies to the questions above, or any additional comment, to email@example.com before 5 p.m. on 22 May 2023. Please also note that Mr. Mark Speich and his team are available for online meetings and exchanges upon request.