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Cutting through the noise on the Inflation Reduction Act: Key learnings for climate technology in Europe

June 14, 2023

A new brief from Clean Air Task Force reframes and analyses the U.S. policy approach to driving investments across the entire clean technology lifecycle and offers recommendations for European policymakers on how to design a business case to advance clean energy. 

“It is too risky to bet the future of Europe’s power, industrial, steel, cement, and transportation sectors on limited decarbonisation pathways,” said Sonia Stoyanova, CATF’s Government Affairs Associate in Europe. “With the European Commission proposing the Net-Zero Industry Act and provisions for clean energy manufacturing, it’s the perfect time to ask a hard question: how can Europe commercialise and deploy as many climate technology options as possible?” 

The brief, Designing a business case for climate technology in Europe, is authored by CATF’s transatlantic experts Sonia Stoyanova, Lee Beck, and John Thompson and assesses how the U.S. policy approach promotes multiple technologies to increase decarbonisation options by supporting technologies with a variety of incentive structures from laboratory to commercialisation. The authors analysed the recent package of climate policies from the U.S., including the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and the Energy Act of 2020. The brief details how the three policy packages fit together. Collectively, they:  

  • Support multiple technologies to create many decarbonisation options 
  • Tailor policy support to fit the needs of each specific development stages  
  • Address multiple barriers (not just cost), including barriers to building and connecting infrastructure, accessing financing, and speeding project construction 
  • Provide clarity and focus on the path to large-scale deployment 

“The U.S. approach to clean energy technology emphasises policies in the research and development (R&D), early commercialisation, and expansion stages,” said CATF’s Technology and Markets Director, John Thompson. “The purpose is to shorten the time it takes for clean energy technologies to reach the ‘take-off point.’” 

The brief provides important learnings for European policymakers, and lists key principles that policymakers should consider when designing a business case to advance clean energy:  

  • De-politicise technology innovation and embrace optionality 
  • Clarify the current technology deployment policy funding landscape across EU and Member States 
  • Tailor policy to bridge gap between commercialisation stages to lower cost 
  • Enable faster deployment through regulatory streamlining and self-activating policy 
  • Overcome ecosystem barriers by addressing infrastructure needs with proactive planning and coordination 

Read the brief here for more information on how Europe can make a successful business case and meet decarbonisation targets, and learn more about CATF’s work in Europe

Press Contact  

Rowan Emslie, Communications Director, EU, [email protected], +32 476-97-36-42  

About Clean Air Task Force  

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a global nonprofit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With 25 years of internationally recognized expertise on climate policy and a fierce commitment to exploring all potential solutions, CATF is a pragmatic, non-ideological advocacy group with the bold ideas needed to address climate change. CATF has offices in Boston, Washington D.C., and Brussels, with staff working virtually around the world.   

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