German government's 'steel strategy' aims to secure climate-friendly production
Clean Energy Wire
A new "steel strategy" for establishing low-carbon production among German steelmakers is aiming to make the country's struggling industry fit for the future. "We send a strong signal for climate-friendly steel 'made in Germany'," said economy minister Peter Altmaier at the strategy's launch, adding that the government's concept demonstrates that "ambitious climate action and a competitive industry go hand in hand." Acting now to decarbonise steel production is necessary in order to make sure that this key industry is still prospering in 30 years' time, the minister argued. Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff, head of the German Steel Federation, said the strategy will provide the industry with a "coherent industrial policy concept" that addresses the challenges the national steel industry is facing. The economy ministry said the strategy's goal is to ensure that steel is produced in Europe according to European climate and environmental standards at competitive prices, and to provide "carbon leakage protection" for steelmakers and other energy-intensive companies. The government will financially support innovation and research in the sector and will seek to promote the use of hydrogen in the industry, the ministry said, adding that this will also entail a review of EU trade rules, of the European emissions trading system (ETS) and of government support regulation in the EU Green Deal.
The steel strategy falls in line with a broader set of measures to decarbonise Germany's industry and facilitate the breakthrough of hydrogen as a key component of the energy transition and an "elixir of life" of a future-proof steel industry. According to consultancy Roland Berger, investments of at least 100 billion euros are necessary to make European steel production climate neutral by 2050.