Bureaucracy to impede green transition in Germany: conference

The transition to low-emission steelmaking will not only be costly, but will also mean additional struggles with slow-moving authorities to get permissions and approvals, said speakers at the ecoMetals Day in Düsseldorf this week.

In a presentation attended by Kallanish, lawyer Michael Neupert addressed typical hurdles, for example, when it comes to plan pipelines for hydrogen. “In one of the federal states, they had all of one person in charge for the permission of pipelines. I got hold of him regularly after 8pm – not a conventional time for public servants to works,” he said. “And when that one person leaves, who will have the knowledge to fill in?”

The shortage of personnel was also bemoaned by the head of Salzgitter’s SALCOS project, Martin Zappe, He defended the people working at the offices as truly committed, but they are overworked. “When we come knocking with 35 projects items that need to be cleared, their department needs to hire additional personnel,” Zappe said.

Nepert recommended to be early with applications especially when inland waters are under consideration: “That is a typical bottleneck you need to address at an early stage,” he warned. “Water protection is not trivial; they are very strict with it, especially when water shortage becomes an issue, as has been the case with the recent draught waves.”

Even minor measures to improve the green footprint, like insulation to preserve energy, face delays – a problem addressed by Guther Kegel, president of ZVEI, the German Electro and Digital Industry Association. “Even a plain application for insulating your building façade takes seven months,” he said in his keynote speech. “Now that energy preservation has become a broader topic, such applications may wait four times that. We absolutely must cut down on regulation that goes too far.”

Christian Koehl Germany