The EU’s bill comes nowhere close to matching America’s $369 billion IRA splurge, but Ehler still vouched for its sending a strong signal.
“It might not react proportionately because the means of the EU are of a different nature,” said Ehler, part of the European People’s Party group. But the EU has done well, he argued, given the “strength of the European market and [the] strength of the European idea.”
The agreement comes at a worrying juncture for Europe’s renewable energy industry. Solar firms are going bankrupt in droves, arguing that unfair Chinese subsidies have flooded the market with cheap alternatives, while EU countries are split over how, or even if, Brussels should rescue the drowning industry.
The Net-Zero Industry Act was proposed last year as part of a broader rethink of EU policy aimed at bringing manufacturing back to the bloc. The bill sets a goal for the EU to supply 40 percent of its own demand for clean tech by 2030, mainly by accelerating typically cumbersome permitting procedures and protecting local firms from unfair foreign competition.
The legislation outlines a list of these clean technologies while designating some as “strategic,” allowing those projects to apply for accelerated permitting and easier access to funding.
The new bill will also revise government contracting rules for green tech, inserting measures to favor local options in some cases. The law similarly endorses a set of requirements for foreign companies seeking government contracts within the EU — including environmental standards.
Separately, the bill also pushes forward an EU plan to build out a network to capture and store carbon. It sets a target to create 50 million tons of annual carbon storage capacity, and orders oil and gas companies to help fund the effort. Notably, the final legislation includes a penalty for fossil fuel firms that don’t comply.