09 February 2024:

The European Parliament and Council have reached provisional agreements on two key legislations aimed at reinforcing the EU’s green and technological ambitions: the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA) and the Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (STEP). The agreements were reached on February 6 and 7, respectively.

Flow Batteries Europe (FBE) welcomes political consensus aimed at enhancing the resilience and competitiveness of clean technology manufacturing within the EU. 

Although FBE is pleased to see that the deal on the NZIA aims to ease conditions for investing in green technologies, it is unfortunate that decision-makers missed the opportunity to set sector-specific targets, thereby enhancing the efficiency of the regulations and simplifying the monitoring process. Endorsing specific targets at the European level provides a clear and consistent indication of the direction and ambition of EU energy policy. 

Concerning the final list of net-zero technologies, ‘we fear that the broad list of net-zero technologies combined with shorter permitting process and limited public investments will not only bring minimal results, but also overburden national public authorities’ says Anthony Price, Secretary General at Flow Batteries Europe. 

We need to ensure that investments are allocated where they are needed the most, in the strategic net-zero technologies with the highest impact for the green transition. It was known that the NZIA would not cover financing capacities and would not quite reach the ambitions of the American Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) plan. However, hopes remained high that the NZIA would be linked to STEP. 

The STEP outcome is much different. The only additional funding will be allocated to the European Defence Fund – €1.5 billion. Net-zero technologies manufacturers will have the same existing funding programmes. Therefore, we could not agree more with Henrike Hahn, MEP, who stated, ‘Green industrial policy investments at the European level are far from where they should be – they are still a drop in the ocean.’ 

Next steps 

The provisional agreements on NZIA and STEP now need to be separately endorsed and formally adopted by both institutions. Once adopted, the regulations will be published in the EU’s Official Journal and enter into force the next day. FBE remains committed to delivering updates on NZIA and STEP. 

Read our full commentary on the matter and learn more below.