North-eastern Germany must become a leading European area for the industrial and climate transformation. For that purpose, transmission system operator 50Hertz and the industrial union for mining, chemistry and energy (Industriegewerkschaft Bergbau, Chemie, Energie, IG BCE) are campaigning for a joint initiative of the state governments. To start a series of round table discussions with representatives from the economy, the political world and society, this ambition was discussed yesterday evening with heads of government and ministers from the 50Hertz grid area - Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Brandenburg, Berlin, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Saxony - as well as high-ranking representatives from industry and trade associations and from employee representations.
Political and economic representatives agreed that after the exit from coalfired electricity generation that is now underway, industry and economy must now make the decision to start with climate-neutral production. To ensure this, the development of renewables must be intensified, processes must be made faster and more efficient, and sector coupling must be promoted even more than before. 'The transformation of the energy sector is an enormous challenge for professionals in eastern Germany. Nevertheless, it also offers the opportunity to turn the area into a pioneer in future technology and create new, good workplaces. That is why a joint initiative of all parties involved is now urgently needed,' said IG BCE chairperson Michael Vassiliadis. 'Efficient and reliable power grids that are geared towards the integration of ever increasing quantities of renewable energy carriers are the keystone for the decarbonisation of industry and economy,' 50Hertz CEO Stefan Kapferer added.
Dr Reiner Haseloff, Minister-President of the state of Saxony-Anhalt and acting President of the Bundesrat: 'The eastern states have made a significant contribution to the reduction of CO2 in the past decades. This will remain so, as the coal exit particularly concerns central Germany and Brandenburg. We are also facing a difficult structural change. It is essential to secure the industry area and energy supply for the future. Only if we manage to obtain broad social acceptance for the implementation of our goals can the process ahead of us can succeed.'
Today, the north-east of Germany already stands out as a "green" power plant and produces large volumes of electricity from renewable sources, both for its own needs and beyond. The participants consider this a significant locational advantage to keep existing companies and promote new companies to settle here, as the industrial demand for green electricity is on the rise. What is more, many hydrogen and storage projects, whether in Hamburg, Rostock, Lusatia or the Leuna chemical region, confirm the trend of decarbonising processes with a high energy demand with the aid of green electricity, contributing to the achievement of national and European climate goals and lowering costs in the long term. The initiative launched by 50Hertz and IG BCE, "Mit neuer Energie für starke Industriearbeitsplätze" ("New Energy for Strong Industrial Workplaces"), is intended to accelerate this development through coordinated, joint action. Targeted education and training of professionals, efficient administration, planning security for investments and projects of sector coupling at a large industrial scale are needed for this.
During the digital launch event, the participants agreed on trustful cooperation to reach these targets. Among the participants were Minister-Presidents Dr Reiner Haseloff (Saxony-Anhalt), Dr Dietmar Woidke (Brandenburg), Bodo Ramelow (Thuringia) and Michael Kretschmer (Saxony). Other participants were the Minister of Energy, Infrastructure and Digitalisation Christian Pegel (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), the minister of economy, energy and labour, Prof. Dr. Jörg Steinbach (Brandenburg), the Senator of Economy and Innovation Michael Westhagemann (Hamburg) and the State Secretary for Administrative and Infrastructure Modernisation, Dr Frank Nägele (Berlin). The Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and delegate of the federal government for the new states, Marco Wanderwitz, took part in the discussion as representative of the federal level. Representatives of the economic branches were: Kerstin Andreae, General Manager of the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industries (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft, BDEW), Dr Achim Dercks, acting. General Manager of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag, DIHK), Dr Robert Hermann, Managing Director of Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), Dr Simone Peter, President of the German Renewable Energy Federation (Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energien, BEE) and Prof. Dieter Russwein, President of the Federation of German Industries (Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie, BDI).
The launch event will be followed by further round table discussions with representatives from the economy, associations and the scientific world throughout the year. The goal is to jointly develop concrete and constructive proposals for the specific requirements of individual sectors.
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