By Dr. Antonis St. Stylianou*
The European Commission is proceeding with the institutionalization of a legal framework that prepares the transition to the green industry through the adoption of the Net-zero Industry Act, including the process in this Green Agreement of the European Union. The main objective of the new process is to create the conditions that allow investment and the development of green and clean technologies and the transition to clean energy, with all the benefits it entails.
The new legislative framework proposed by the European Commission aims in particular to strengthen the resilience and competitiveness of the production of clean zero energy technologies, making the energy framework in which the European Union wishes to be based sustainable, secure, independent and accessible to investment. In line with the Union's wider climate and energy green transition objectives by 2030 and the milestone of achieving climate neutrality, the proposed framework aims to cover 40% of the Union's development needs by 2030 and complete neutrality by 2050. The Commission's proposal is combined with another proposal that was also adopted and concerns the legislative framework that defines the procedures for the necessary raw materials as well as the reform of the design of the electricity market, and the creation of a European Hydrogen Bank, bearing in mind the Union's overall objectives for the green transition, the lessons learned from the novel coronavirus pandemic, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the energy crisis.
The proposed new legislative framework includes important references related to the sector of energy production from new sources in the context of the reduction of pollutant emissions and the use of fossil fuels in the whole range of our daily life, and in particular technologies related to the use of solar energy through photovoltaics, thermal energy, onshore and offshore wind energy, geothermal energy, green hydrogen as well as technologies related to the storage of energy produced by the above methods.
The main pillars on which it is based and develops the whole process include:
- Facilitation for investments in clean zero-footprint technologies, by reducing the administrative burden and simplifying the licensing procedures by the competent government authorities and organizations. At this stage, there are delays, procrastination, lack of know-how and, in some cases, inability to examine applications for investments and the practical implementation of net zero footprint technologies. The new legislative framework aims to eliminate the above difficulties and obstacles, in order to improve competitiveness, simplify procedures and shorten the licensing schedules of projects that fall within the above framework.
- CO2 Sequestration: Implementation of CO2 storage projects and technologies in the European Union to achieve an annual injection capacity of 50Mt by 2030, with a contribution from oil and gas producers. This pillar can make fossil fuel energy, which in some sectors is difficult to limit, economically sustainable for the climate through carbon capture and storage.
- Easier access to markets : This can be achieved through the inclusion of net zero footprint technologies in public procurement.
- Strengthening skills through the introduction of measures to ensure the existence of a skilled workforce of a high standard. In this context, the academic/educational part is considered particularly important and the invitation concerns the inclusion of the teaching of new zero-footprint technologies in the academic programs, which will make the work in such fields qualitative, economically beneficial and specialized.
< li>Promoting innovation through changing the regulatory framework regarding testing of innovative technologies but also the inclusion of innovative research programs in the processes of the green transition.
The new proposed legislative framework makes the processes of the European Union for the transition to energy neutrality, the framework of Fit-for-55 and the whole process of the green transition much more productive, thorough and definitely aimed at achieving the Union's overall goals for the future.
* Lecturer in Law at the University of Nicosia, LL.B Law (Bristol), Ph.D in Law – International Law and Human Rights (Kent), head of the Legal Clinic Unit of the University of Nicosia.
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