BASF starts building its own offshore wind farms

European industry is becoming increasingly proactive in terms of decarbonisation, whether that be BASF which is constructing massive offshore windparks or thw ider industry, which now commited to yet another decarbonisation and circularity agreement. EPA/Christian Charisius

The world’s largest chemicals company, Germany’s BASF, has forged partnerships with energy groups Vattenfall and RWE to build its own offshore wind farms in a bid to secure sufficient amounts of renewable energy for its chemical plants in Northern Europe.

European industry is responsible for upwards of 20% of the EU-27’s emission. More renewable energy will be needed in order to decarbonise, said Martin Brüdermüller, the CEO of BASF. 

“A successful decarbonisation of our industry requires massive amounts of renewable energy,” Brüdermüller told an industry event on Wednesday (23 June).

However, the expansion of renewable energy is currently not proceeding at the required pace, with supply unable to meet demand, he warned.

Brudermüller had previously lambasted the EU policy framework for renewables, saying regulations are too complex and the speed of transformation too slow. 

Renewable energy expansion has slowed down in Germany, with onshore wind projects facing delays due to red tape and legal challenges mounted by an alliance of nature conservationists and climate change deniers.

Germany’s onshore wind expansion continues to struggle

Attempts by the German authorities to attract investment in wind power fell flat, marking another episode in a series of unpopular tenders for wind power, according to the results of tenders for renewables, published on Friday (30 April).

Brüdermüller appears to have taken matters into his own hands now. First, BASF is cooperating with Swedish energy company Vattenfall to construct the largest offshore wind farm off the Dutch coast. 

The “Hollandse Kust Zuid” wind farm will have a capacity of 1.5 Gigawatt and is expected to go live by 2023. It will directly supply BASF’s second-largest plant, located in Antwerp, with renewable electricity. 

The chemical industry juggernaut also has plans to build an even bigger wind farm in the Baltic sea in cooperation with German energy company RWE. The offshore wind farm that is set to be completed in 2030 will have an even larger capacity of 2 Gigawatt. It will supply BASF’s largest plant in Ludwigshafen.

The chemical industry will “require unprecedented amounts of renewable electricity,” the European chemical industry association CEFIC told EURACTIV. Companies are taking increasingly bold steps to gain reliable access to renewable energy, highlighting a wider trend within the chemical industry to buy green power certificates, it said.

Multinationals line up to claim 100% green power label

Renewables are becoming the energy source of choice for corporate electricity users, according to a new report by The Climate Group published in Davos today (23 January), which shows a growing number of multinationals lining up to meet 100% of their power needs from green power.

Process industries commit to 2050 carbon neutrality

As Europe embarks on a journey to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, process industries are under growing pressure to decarbonise.

To coordinate their innovation programmes, they have formed an association called A.SPIRE, which brings together industries in sectors like cement, ceramics, chemicals, engineering, minerals and ores, non-ferrous metals, pulp and paper, refining, steel and water management.

And the pressure is now also coming from within, their representatives say.

“Our employees, our managers, are pushing us to go faster,” said Michael Koenig, CEO of Elkem, a Norwegian company specialised in the manufacturing of silicon for the solar PV industry.

“We are not here today to request things. We are here today to offer our commitment,” said Luis Cabra, deputy CEO of Spanish oil retailer Repsol, adding that his company had committed to carbon neutrality by 2050.

Wednesday (23 June) marked the launch of the process industry’s shared commitment to decarbonisation: Processes4Planet. The plan is meant to guide the industry’s transition towards carbon neutrality and the circular economy, by relying on cross-sectoral innovation.

It identifies 16 innovation areas, like integrating hydrogen in industry, and 36 innovation programs, like direct electrolysis of raw materials.

“Support to de-risk innovation is needed now in order to trigger such investments,” the plan concludes.

[Edited by Frédéric Simon/Zoran Radosavljevic]


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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

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