Consistent expansion of renewables at competitive electricity prices needed for climate-neutral industrial sector

The energy transition is a key step on the road to a climate-neutral future. The transformation of the energy-intensive primary sector in particular will require large amounts of electricity from renewable sources. That is why the expansion of renewables must be accelerated in order to encourage the development of a climate-neutral industrial sector – while maintaining competitive electricity prices. This is the conclusion drawn by the position paper “Shaping the future of the industrial sector”, published by state-based initiative IN4climate.NRW. The paper’s signatories include numerous companies in the energy-intensive industrial sector, among them BASF, BP, LANXESS, Shell, thyssenkrupp and Uniper.

Electricity from renewables is the basis of many innovative technologies that have a key role to play in shaping a climate-neutral industrial sector by replacing conventional processes based on the use of fossil sources of energy. “Greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced if we are to achieve the national and international climate protection goals. For the energy-intensive industrial sector, this means, above all, switching over to renewable sources of electricity. It is therefore essential that sufficient quantities of affordable, renewable electricity are available,” explains Samir Khayat, Managing Director of the IN4climate.NRW initiative.

The IN4climate.NRW partners believe three conditions are essential if the transformation of the industrial sector is to be successful and the climate targets are to be achieved.

  • The high level of industrial demand for electricity from renewables must be met by accelerating the expansion of generation capacity in Germany and importing electricity and electricity-based energy carriers.
  • Security of supply and system stability must be guaranteed through grid expansion, storage technology and sector coupling as well as by improving the flexibility of electricity demand and removing barriers to flexibility.
  • Competitive electricity and energy prices must be ensured, for example by retaining the relief for energy-intensive companies and on electricity generated and consumed on site.

The paper was prepared by IN4climate.NRW’s working group on policy frameworks. It has been endorsed by the companies Air Liquide, BASF, BP, Currenta, Kabel Premium Pulp & Paper, LANXESS, Lhoist, RHM, Shell, thyssenkrupp Steel, TRIMET and Uniper as well as by the research institution Fraunhofer UMSICHT (Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology), the German Cement Manufacturers’ Association (VDZ), the Federal Association of the German Lime Industry (BVK) and the German Steel Federation (WV Stahl).

“Shaping a climate-neutral industrial sector is a major challenge that requires considering the system as a whole. Innovative approaches and technologies are available. To turn them into viable business models, the frameworks must be reviewed and adjusted accordingly,” says Dr Thilo Schaefer, Head of the Research Unit Environment, Energy, Infrastructure at the German Economic Institute and subject area leader at the scientific competence centre SCI4climate.NRW. The aim of the position paper is to highlight the measures that are needed to promote the use of greenhouse-gas-neutral processes and practices. The state-based initiative IN4climate.NRW thereby plays a supporting role as a platform that brings together partners from the worlds of industry, science and politics to collaborate on specific projects and strategies aimed at advancing an innovative and climate-friendly transformation of the industrial sector.

Position paper

Press release