EU’s electricity sector heralds Europe’s energy transition

Martin Banks

Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper), Europe’s electricity industry trade association will sign the Antwerp Declaration in a “show of support” for keeping a “strong, competitive, decarbonized” industrial base in Europe. 

The signature ceremony took place on 4 April between Eurelectric’s Secretary General Kristian Ruby and Cefic’s Director General Marco Mensink.

They said it “further intensifies the much-needed cross-sectoral cooperation to identify key policy measures and leavers to make Europe a competitive provider of electricity for its industry.”

A statement added, “The Antwerp Declaration makes it clear: the success of Europe’s energy transition and decarbonization objectives hinges on the competitive green industry. For this to happen, energy-intensive industries must be fully equipped to deliver the climate solutions needed by our continent.”

Ruby said, “At the height of the energy crisis, Europe witnessed real demand destruction and closure of industrial plants for which it is not clear if they will reemerge on European soil”.

In 2022, energy-intensive industries like chemical, aluminum, zinc, and silicon manufacturers were taken offline at a rate of 35% to 45% as energy costs were prohibitively expensive, making operations uncompetitive.

“We need to work with industry to build resilience and competitiveness. This is why Eurelectric decided to support the Antwerp Declaration and the call for an Industrial Deal to complement Europe’s green ambitions,” Ruby.

The statement said, “Ensuring a fair energy transition that keeps industry in Europe requires affordable energy.

“It is therefore crucial to prioritise the most mature, efficient and affordable technologies, such as those that directly electrify end-use sectors, to reliably deliver energy to businesses and citizens in the most cost-efficient way.”

 Mensink said: “Direct electrification will play a central role in decarbonising industrial processes going forward, but we need a framework for that. The new Commission should therefore come up with a Plan to facilitate affordable and clean electrification of industry, create the necessary grid infrastructure and de-risk necessary electricity and electrification investments.”

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Martin Banks is an experienced British-born journalist who has been covering the EU beat (and much else besides) in Brussels since 2001. Previously, he had worked for many years in regional journalism in the UK and freelanced for national titles. He has a keen interest in foreign affairs and has closely followed the workings of the European Parliament and MEPs in particular for some years.