New industrial deal needed to enable energy transition – Europe trade groups

Will Beacham


BARCELONA (ICIS)–The EU needs a powerful industrial strategy to deliver the massive expansion in renewable energy required to power energy-intensive sectors which will provide locally made raw materials, according to a coalition of regional trade groups.

Europe currently lacks policies to sustain and grow sectors such as chemicals, cement, steel and other metals which have suffered an unprecedented curtailment of production in recent years due to the impact of the energy crisis, the groups said in a joint statement released on Tuesday.

Accelerated wind deployment will be central to delivering the decarbonization of Europe’s economy, said the group, adding that wind already delivers 20% of electricity consumption in Europe and is therefore a strategic resource for Europe’s industry.

“Chemicals, steel, aluminium, copper and cement are all a vital part of the European wind supply chain. Europe needs strong energy and electricity intensive industries in order to deliver the massive expansion of renewables,” said the group.

It calls for locally produced materials and equipment for energy and other low-carbon infrastructure to be made in Europe. That will require globally competitive clean energy and access to raw materials.

Energy intensive industries have experienced unprecedented curtailment of production in recent years due to the impact of the energy crisis, said the group. Addressing this challenge must be at the core of a new Industrial Deal for Europe. Faster renewables deployment will help reducing energy bills for consumers.

According to Marco Mensink, director general of Europe’s main chemicals trade group Cefic: “We will only make a business case for Europe and be able to implement the Green Deal if Europe creates strong and innovative partnerships, across multiple value chains. The first step is to develop a plan for direct electrification for industry, then we jointly focus to help create the necessary infrastructure and new wind energy capacity.”

This joint statement echoes messages in February’s Antwerp Declaration for a European Industrial Deal,  signed by more than 1,200 business leaders.

This new statement is signed by trade groups Cefic, WindEurope, CEMBUREAU, the European cement association, steel group EUROFER and Eurometaux, Europe’s Metals Association.

Europe’s uncompetitive energy and feedstock cost position has put it at the forefront of a global wave of permanent plant closures and restructuring plans.

Thumbnail photo: Cefic’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium (Source: Cefic)


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