Europe, like the United States, has revealed its strategy to remain globally competitive in the race to “net zero”.
EU leaders presented eight strategic technologies that will shape Europe’s green transition. This is thesolar energyfollower Electrolyzers and the fuel cellsfrom’Wind Energythe sustainable biogasfollower batteries And storagefollower Carbon capture and storage technologies (CSC), heat pumps And from here geothermal energyBeside Network technology.
These eight strategic technologies form the basis of the European Commission’s proposal for a regulation called ” Net Zero Industry Act » (NZIA, Net Zero Industry Regulation), which has not yet been discussed and agreed upon, but clearly articulates the EU’s intentions for decades to come.
These technologies will be eligible for specific support, mainly in the form of financial incentives and a reduction in red tape. The duration of the authorization process will be reduced to nine or twelve months depending on capacity, which is a significant change.
Deal with the supply chain
The European Commission has also proposed “a comprehensive set of measures to ensure the EU has access to safe, diversified, affordable and sustainable supplies of critical raw materials”. This European regulation on critical raw materials aims to reduce dependence on China in particular for base metals and materials to reduce carbon emissions by 55% by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
China has made great strides in securing the value chain of critical minerals from exploration to processing. Rumors that China is restricting exports of some basic materials and products for photovoltaic panel manufacturing have caused supply chain disruptions. This could seriously hinder European countries’ ability to compete with Chinese companies in this field.
According to European regulations on important raw materials, 10% of the essential minerals must come from the European Union, 40% It must be processed in the European Union And the recycling rate must be 15% at least. The EU will enter into agreements with other production and processing countries/regions to diversify access and build strong supply chains. Today, these supply chains are completely dominated by China.
Europe is at the center of a new global chessboard
The news comes just weeks after the European Commission published a report aimed at maintaining the EU’s attractiveness for investment and developing a “net zero” industry in a rapidly changing world.
The report is entitled Green Deal industrial plan for the net zero era (Industrial Green Deal Scheme for the Carbon Neutral Age), acknowledges the short-term difficulties Europe faces due to war and high energy prices, as well as the fact that some of the initiatives being promoted in other parts of the world pose problems within it. European Union.
The European Commission has questioned the fairness of some of these initiatives, particularly China’s strategy of high subsidies and supply chain dominance. In this report, the committee also returns toInflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the United States as well as similar programs in Japan and India.
carbon dioxide storage2 : a strategic priority
Record carbon dioxide capture and storage technologies2 Among the strategic priorities of Europe was not certain.
Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands are among the countries that have announced new carbon dioxide storage plans2. Now that it is clear that European leaders support these technologies, investments in capture technologies and storage projects can accelerate, and the time has come.
Capture CO2 Without storing it is a silly strategy. It is impossible to achieve the set goals without installing infrastructure that allows storing carbon dioxide2.
Reducing the red tape associated with this proven technology is an essential step, as oil and gas companies are required to provide 50 million tons of carbon dioxide2 storable annually by 2030. It should be noted that European regulations provide standards for different technologies and solutions rather than strict targets.
For example, the innovative carbon dioxide storage project2 northern lightsin Norway, only 1 capacity5 million tons annually In the first phase, although there are plans to extend it to More than 5 million tons annually. On the other hand, Denmark plans to increase its capacity to More than 50 million tons annually by 2030Dutch projects of similar size pursue this general objective.
Perhaps most notable in New Zealand is the absence of nuclear power as a “net zero” strategic European technology, although it is still referred to as a “net zero” technology.
Hydrogen remains essential
Hydrogen production is also a notable omission, although the manufacture of electrolyzers and fuel cells is included in Europe’s “net zero” strategy. However, there are already targets for hydrogen, such as the short-term one 10 million tons annually to EU production and the same amount imported by 2030.
This is part of the REPowerEU plan, which mainly aims to wean Russia off energy dependence to give a boost to the green transition and create the foundation for the burgeoning European renewable energy industry.
However, the launch of the European Hydrogen Bank to bolster market and investor confidence in renewable hydrogen in the EU is a clear sign that Europe remains committed to hydrogen as an alternative fuel.
In the United States, an IRA allows you to take advantage of up to a tax cut $3 per kilogram. The measures will be put in place so that hydrogen production within the EU can benefit from the subsidy mechanism 800 million euros, which provides a premium for up to ten years. This mechanism could make the standard cost of hydrogen within the European Union competitive with the United States for green hydrogen.
Europe’s revised green industry strategy
Although designed to enable the EU to achieve its climate goals and play a global leadership role in clean technology and industrial innovation, the new strategies are not really just an amalgamation of many existing measures, with a clearer long-term operational orientation than before. .
The European Commission wants to speed up the regulatory environment to allow technologies to develop rapidly. It sets production standards for key technologies and materials within the European Union, which is not uncommon.
The market model that worked for many years no longer works so well when there is an issue of energy supply security, as it does today. Europe is currently facing the deglobalization of markets, while globalization and trade were the foundation of the prosperous European economy.
Questions persisted about funding and research strategy
The main issue NZIA raised is the question of funding. There has been talk of central funding, but NZIA is not offering any major new funding. On the one hand, it allows member states to grant subsidies in key strategic areas, which is generally contrary to EU state aid law.
Apart from this, funding will continue from existing channels such as the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI), the InvestEU programme, as well as new mechanisms such as the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework.
Another worrying aspect is the lack of a search strategy mentioned in recent reports. This is an area where the EU’s Research and Innovation Framework programs have excelled in bringing together European efforts and expertise to deliver new technologies and solutions.
Governments are looking for quick fixes and ways to create value from the fruits of high technological readiness. If successful in the short term, this strategy creates an innovation gap for the steady stream of new technologies that will be required to reach net zero. Haste means that the linear innovation model does not work. At the same time, research, innovation and publication must be carried out in close cooperation.
It calls upon the key member states to redouble efforts for the following framework program with a goal An investment of 200 billion euros In the future economy of the European Union.
So the race is on. It’s not just about the race for “net zero”, it’s also about the race for subsidies. Until now, climate change and the protection of nature and the oceans have not been taken into account in the European economic model. This will change, and quickly, as Europe prepares for a new market model based on sustainable goals.
Translated article from Forbes US – Author: Nils Rokke
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