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15 Feb 2021, 13:44
Sören Amelang

Union, grid operator want to turn Eastern Germany into climate-friendly industry pioneer

Clean Energy Wire

A German trade union and transmission grid operator 50Hertz have launched an initiative to transform the North-East of the country into a "leading European location for industrial and climate transformation”. The Trade Union for mining, chemicals, and energy industry (IG BCE), which was one of the most vocal opponents of a speedy coal exit in the country, said in a press release following a round table involving representatives from industry, society and state governments that after "the phase-out of coal-fired power generation that has now been initiated, a determined move towards climate-neutral production by industry and commerce is necessary. To achieve this, the expansion of renewable energies must be intensified, processes must be made faster and more efficient, and sector coupling must be promoted more strongly than before”.

"The transformation of the energy sector is a huge challenge for employees in the East. However, it also holds the opportunity to make the location a pioneer of a future technology and to create new, good jobs," said IG BCE head Michael Vassiliadis. "This now urgently requires a joint initiative by all those involved." The union said those involved believe the region's strong production of renewable energies provides a significant competitive advantage "given that industry demand for green power is on the rise". Numerous hydrogen and storage projects in the region already underline the trend towards using renewable power to decarbonise energy-intensive processes, the union said. The initiative's aim is to speed up the transformation with joint action and cooperation, according to the release. "Targeted education and training of skilled workers, an efficient administration, planning security for investments and sector coupling projects on a large industrial scale are necessary."

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