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16 Mar 2021, 13:23
Charlotte Nijhuis

Steel producer Salzgitter wants EU protection during green transformation

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The steel industry needs a clear and reliable framework for its decarbonisation, said Heinz Jörg Fuhrmann, CEO of the Salzgitter Group, at the presentation of the company’s annual report on Monday, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) writes. The German steel company suffered financial losses last year due to the slump in demand caused by the pandemic. Nevertheless, the CEO says it was not a “lost year” for the company, as it pressed the manufacturers to move ahead with projects, such as CO2-reduced steel production, FAZ writes. Salzgitter now urges the German government and the EU to quickly create the political and legal framework conditions for the industry’s decarbonisation by 2050. "The approval procedures in Germany are exorbitantly extensive and time-consuming. This needs to be reformed as a matter of urgency if we also want to make progress with decarbonisation within the politically set timeframe,” Fuhrmann said. Salzgitter aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2030 and by 95 percent by 2050. A five-digit number of tonnes of “green flat steel” are to be produced already this year, Fuhrmann said. The CEO emphasised the role of the EU in protecting the steel industry while transforming Europe into a climate-neutral location. "We can't keep bearing rising climate and energy costs while competitors from abroad – who don’t have these burdens - happily ship into the EU,” Fuhrmann said.

Earlier this month, Salzgitter started operations of a major green hydrogen project using energy from wind turbines in the northwest of Germany. Last year, the German government presented a steel strategy to help the industry make the shift to climate-neutrality. 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.

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