Price fluctuation, grid shortage hamper transition: conference

In addition to more renewable energy sources, the transition to cleaner steelmaking requires a massive expansion of electricity networks, and comparable power prices, said speakers at the Danieli “Innovaction” Meeting in Udine on Tuesday.

Michael Bott of Dillinger illustrated the problem for Germany and his company in particular. “German wind parks are in the north, on the sea, where the wind is, but we are located in the south,” he said during a panel session attended by Kallanish. He estimates the country will need 14,000km of additional grid capacity in the years to come.

Dillinger is not only a consumer of renewable energy, but also a supplier of heavy plate for wind parks. For the German company, this has meant a turn away from the oil and gas pipelines it used to supply. With the Nord Stream pipeline from Russia to Germany, it also served a project that became politically tainted, and ultimately lost its purpose.

Bott also highlighted the challenge of price-finding when materials and energy sources change. While coal has a global market price tag, prices for electricity vary widely, within Europe and even within one country, he noted.

Carlo Beltrame of Beltrame Group followed up on Bott’s concern regarding transmission grids, and pointed right at the dilemma: “If decarbonisation continues, we will have a problem with the networks,” he said. He then pointed to another scenario. Referring to the automotive industry, he warned that “if they do not buy the green steel from us, decarbonisation will sooner or later fail”.

Christian Koehl Germany