RWE and steel producer ArcelorMittal have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to develop, build and operate offshore wind farms and hydrogen facilities that will supply the renewable energy and green hydrogen required to produce low-emissions steel in Germany.
The partnership centers on driving forward the production of carbon-neutral steel, with a plan to replace coal with wind power and green hydrogen as the main source of energy in steel production at ArcelorMittal’s steelmaking sites in Germany. To decarbonize its production sites in Bremen, Hamburg, Eisenhüttenstadt and Duisburg as planned, ArcelorMittal Germany needs renewable energy on a large scale.
RWE and ArcelorMittal are assessing options for joint participation in tenders for offshore wind farm sites in the North Sea. The amendment of the Wind Energy at Sea Act (WindSeeG) currently under way is key for success, as it will permanently shape the cost structure in the German offshore wind sector. If the law were to establish “negative bids” in offshore wind tenders, financing wind farms would be more challenging.
RWE and ArcelorMittal also want to work together on the development of green hydrogen, by jointly looking for areas where electrolysis plants can be built to supply the steel production sites in Bremen and Eisenhüttenstadt, starting with a 70 MW pilot plant by 2026 with the clear intention to increase to GW-scale projects in the long term, subject to approval of public funding.
RWE and ArcelorMittal intend to conclude long-term purchase agreements for both wind power and green hydrogen.
“Electricity from renewable energies and green hydrogen must become the hallmark of industrial production in Germany,” says Sven Utermöhlen, CEO of offshore wind at RWE Renewables. “Industry needs both in large quantities as soon as possible in order to achieve its climate targets. That is why we are planning one of the most ambitious expansion projects for offshore wind farms and electrolyzers in Germany, together with ArcelorMittal. If the regulatory framework is right, we want to be successful together in the bidding for offshore areas. ArcelorMittal is an excellent partner to expand our industry cooperation and thus give real impetus to decarbonization projects in Germany.”
In addition to the partnership on renewable electricity and green hydrogen, the companies want to investigate possible uses for ArcelorMittal’s low-emissions steel in components for RWE’s renewable electricity plants. RWE wants to be climate-neutral by 2040. To achieve this goal, the energy company needs to decarbonize its supply chain, and the use of low-emissions steel will make an important contribution to this.
“ArcelorMittal Germany is embarking on a radical transition to ensure we reach our CO2 emissions reduction targets, meaning that the energy used to make steel will need to be clean energy,” adds Reiner Blaschek, CEO of ArcelorMittal Germany. “The partnership we have announced with RWE today is significant for a number of reasons: it will provide us with the renewable, affordable electricity and green hydrogen that we need to produce low-emissions steel while remaining competitive in a global market. It also offers vital security in the supply chain, by integrating the supply of energy and hydrogen into our business.”