23 March 2023

The plan sets out a series of measures to be taken over the next 10 years

The Green Deal Industrial Plan is part of the European Union’s wider Green Deal initiative, which aims to make the EU climate neutral by 2050. The Industrial Plan specifically focuses on transforming the EU’s industrial sector to make it more sustainable and competitive in the net-zero era.  

In brief:  

  1. Strengthening EU industrial leadership: The plan aims to support the development of sustainable and competitive industries, particularly in strategic sectors such as clean energy, mobility and digital technologies. This includes promoting innovation, improving the regulatory framework and supporting investment in sustainable industrial activities.  
  2. Promoting circularity and resource efficiency: The plan aims to accelerate the transition to a circular economy by reducing waste, improving resource efficiency and promoting the use of sustainable materials. To this end, it will support the development of circular business models, promote eco-design and encourage the use of recycled materials.  
  3. Support a just and inclusive transition: The plan aims to ensure that the transition to a net-zero industrial sector is fair and inclusive, especially for workers and regions disproportionately affected. This includes supporting worker retraining and upskilling, promoting social dialogue and providing targeted support to regions in transition.  
  4. Improving international competitiveness: The plan aims to strengthen the EU’s position as a global leader in sustainable industrial production and exports. This includes promoting free and fair trade, promoting international cooperation on climate action and supporting the development of sustainable supply chains.  

The Green Deal Industrial Plan is a comprehensive strategy to transform the EU industrial sector and make it more sustainable, competitive and resilient in the face of global challenges. By supporting innovation, circularity and inclusiveness, the plan aims to boost economic growth and create new opportunities for businesses and workers in the net-zero era.  

What does the Net-Zero Industry Act proposal contain?  

The Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA) was proposed in spring 2023. As part of the Green Deal Industrial Plan, it aims to scale up the production capacity of green technologies.   

The European Commission wants the energy and industrial sectors to become more resilient and sustainable. This can be achieved using 7 pillars to invest in green technologies:  

  1. Improving investment security, policy focus and coordination by setting clear targets and monitoring mechanisms.  
  2. Reducing administrative burden for net-zero generation projects, including by streamlining administrative requirements, expediting permits, etc.  
  3. Facilitate market access by stimulating demand for net-zero technologies, through public tenders.
  4. Facilitate and develop CO2 storage projects.  
  5. Support innovation, including through regulatory sandboxes.  
  6. Improve skills for quality jobs in net-zero technologies.  
  7. Coordinating net-zero industrial partnerships.  

The Commission has drawn up a list of eight strategic net-zero technologies that will receive additional support. They are:  

  1. Solar  
  2. On- and offshore renewable technologies  
  3. Battery/storage technologies  
  4. Heat pumps and geothermal energy  
  5. Electrolysis and fuel cells  
  6. Renewable biogas and biomethane  
  7. Grid technologies  

What does this mean for R&D tax opportunities and subsidies?  

A transition to a circular economy that is sustainable requires optimal management of raw materials (steel, oil, plastics, natural gas, coal, etc.). Their use is a major environmental and climate challenge, an ambition pursued by the NGEU Green Transition.     

It has the potential to transform the Belgian economy and generate new and sustainable competitive advantages beyond recycling. It focuses on consumption reduction, lifetime, reuse, recovery, eco-design and new forms of consumption of products and services.      

One of the main objectives of the Industrial Plan is to support the development of sustainable and competitive industries, especially in strategic sectors such as clean energy, mobility and digital technologies. This means that companies operating in these areas will have more opportunities to access R&D grants, as these sectors are likely to be prioritised for funding.  

Moreover, the plan also aims to promote circularity and resource efficiency, which may create new opportunities for companies operating in these areas to access R&D grants aimed at promoting sustainable and circular business models.  

However, it is important to note that the Green Deal Industrial Plan is still at an early stage of implementation, and it may take some time before the full implications of the Plan are realised. Companies wishing to apply for R&D grants in Belgium should keep abreast of the Plan’s implementation and the new funding opportunities that may result. 

To further encourage investment in R&D+I, our FI Group consultants help identify, implement and maintain the necessary financial processes. We support you in understanding and intercepting available R&D+I opportunities.   

Yvette Poumpalova

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