The race to net zero: Europe responds with its Green Deal Industrial Plan


Karsten Kurz

Director Environmental Affairs

Exide Technologies Gmb

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The raft of incentives designed to promote and stimulate investment in green technologies in the United States has challenged European legislators to collectively support its industries with new funds and stronger state aid. In a bid to drive innovation, new research and ultimately jobs and growth.

The Inflation Reduction Act promises investment in domestic energy production and manufacturing, and commits to reducing carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030.

The EU’s response is a Green Deal Industrial Plan “to enhance the competitiveness of Europe’s net-zero industry and support the fast transition to climate neutrality” based on the EU single market: The European Green Deal, REPowerEU, enhancing skills as it is estimated that “between 35% and 40% of all jobs could be affected by the green transition” and EU’s network of Free Trade Agreements. However, not everyone believes the plan goes far enough, arguing it is too generic and does not fully recognise the critical role that energy plays and the need to ensure energy storage for an industrial potential.

Long-term investments are undoubtedly needed to ensure the EU remains competitive globally and to nurture the key technologies and employee skills required for future net-zero growth.

The EU Green Deal Industrial Plan is a welcome response to incentives that risk attracting EU businesses to invest elsewhere, but it is equally important to send a strong investment and competitiveness signal to the full clean energy technology supply chain along with policies that support the initiative. Policymakers need to ensure they are fully aligned with the energy transition to deliver the European Green Deal’s net zero objectives, including securing the production of essential raw materials and securing supply.

Energy plays a strategic role, and EU cannot afford to introduce contradictory policies which will not help to reach the target goals. Lead is essential because many critical raw materials and products rely on it either directly or indirectly. Lead is critical to so many economic and social aspects of our society, from mobility to renewables energy storage. It is a vital ingredient in products from sheathing cables linking offshore wind farms to the grid, through to advanced lead batteries providing energy storage for renewables – a key pillar in the drive towards electrification and decarbonization.

And regulators need to ensure that any proposed legislation impacting lead production in the EU does not represent a step backwards in the transition to a clean energy, investment and job creation, affecting key energy sectors directly involved in what the EU Green Deal Industrial Plan is trying to achieve.


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