German mills call for intervention on power costs

The voice of Germany’s steelmakers, federation Wirtschaftvereinigung (WV) Stahl, has issued another call on the Government to provide for an easing of the electricity costs that keep devouring the margins of mills.

“We urge the government to provide for lower electricity prices, as our member companies are in the midst of an unprecedented transformation,” says WV Stahl’s managing director, Kerstin Maria Rippel. In order to achieve change in technology, in particular for decarbonisation, companies depend on affordable power more than ever before, Kallanish learns from Rippel.

She points out that especially the cleanest route of making steel, electric arc furnaces, is also the worst hit by power costs. The situation is all the more painful, as most EAF mills are medium-sized companies.

An immediate cause for the call were the latest crude steel production figures, which for EAFs in August declined year-on-year for the 18th time in a row. In the first eight months of the year, EAFs produced 6.8 million tonnes of crude steel, which was some 12% below the corresponding 2022 period. With only 707,000 tonnes made in August, the output was even lower than the previous low point in 2009, during the financial crisis, WV Stahl underlines.

Production from basic oxygen converters deviated only minimally from the previous year, with 17.6m tonnes made in the first eight months. Both routes taken together produced 24.3m tonnes, down 4% y-o-y.

Christian Koehl Germany