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Driving Europe’s green revolution: Harnessing raw materials and clean tech manufacturing

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The European Green Deal aims to transition to a net-zero economy, reducing fossil fuel imports but increasing demand for clean energy technologies. To address this, the European Commission has developed the Green Deal Industrial Plan, focusing on critical raw materials (CRMs) and clean tech manufacturing.

Legislation such as the Net-Zero Industry Act and the Critical Raw Materials Act are key components of this plan, aiming to enhance the EU’s competitiveness and security of supply. The CRMA identifies 34 critical raw materials, setting benchmarks for extraction, processing, and recycling by 2030. It also prioritizes projects to expedite permitting and financing.

CRMs, essential for strategic technologies, often face supply risks due to uneven distribution and import dependencies. The EU, heavily reliant on CRM imports, seeks to diversify sources and boost domestic production. However, challenges include local opposition to mining activities and indigenous rights concerns.

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Clean tech manufacturing capacity varies across sectors, with the EU strong in wind but import-dependent in solar PV. The Net-Zero Industry Act targets 19 net-zero technologies for support, focusing on mature technologies with potential for industry decarbonization and competitiveness.

Despite progress in legislative frameworks, challenges remain in achieving targets and ensuring a resilient supply chain. The EU’s efforts to secure resources and boost clean tech manufacturing are crucial steps toward achieving its green objectives while maintaining global competitiveness.

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