IG Metall also made a choice in favour of hydrogen as its strategy for the future – how do your efforts fit into Germany’s National Hydrogen Strategy and NRW’s Hydrogen Roadmap?
We welcome the fact that the German government intends to promote leading markets. We urge that this should be organised through government tendering processes for the production of green hydrogen and by means of quotas, also with regard to the use of green steel. The efforts of the Roadmap in NRW are heavily market-based, but companies will not invest without the corresponding framework conditions. Existing schemes need to be expanded in order to further encourage decarbonisation, with an emphasis on the steel sector and developing energy facilities.
Professionally, you are heavily involved in the topics of vocational education and training – where does attention need to be focused in this regard in order to ensure that a climate-neutral industrial transformation can take place?
Switching from blast furnaces to direct reduction plants in the steel industry requires competency in chemical process engineering, for example. We are in close discussions with our colleagues on this subject, and we are also focusing on providing a cross-sector research study, which focuses on changed competence profiles. Industrialisation and climate protection must go hand in hand in order to save jobs in NRW.
How can everyone be kept on board with the process of industrial transformation? What role can a state-based initiative such as IN4climate.NRW play in this process, in your opinion?
Policy-makers and scientists can provide important theoretical impetus, but actual implementation takes place within the companies themselves. That is why trade unions also play an important role as representatives of employees’ interests. IN4climate.NRW plays a significant role in the exchange between the various stakeholders.