Sweden receives Eur155.7 mil EU grant to achieve energy transition, transform metals industry

Sweden will receive Eur155.7 million ($154.6 million) in EU grants to help the country achieve climate neutrality by 2045, including cutting industrial emissions by transforming its steel, mineral and metals industry, the European Commission said in a Sept. 5 statement.

The funds will come from the EU’s Just Transition Fund, or JTF, which was established to support the EU regions most affected by the energy transition. The grant will go toward the total Eur311.5 million Sweden plans to invest in its energy transition.

Industrial emissions account for 32% of Sweden’s total greenhouse gas emissions, meaning it is essential to transform Sweden’s steel, mineral and metals industry, which the EC said were the country’s main GHG emitters.

Sweden produced 4.7 million mt of crude steel in 2021, and 2.7 million mt in the first seven months of 2022, down 1% year on year, according to data from the World Steel Association.

According to the country’s steel association, Jernkontoret, it has three integrated ore-based iron and steel plants, 11 scrap-based steel plants and about 15 finishing plants. It also produces iron ore.

The country’s steel industry’s energy consumption in 2019 was 21 TWh, electricity consumption that year was 4 TWh and emissions were 1,900 mt of nitrogen oxides and 1,200 mt of sulfur oxides, according to Jernkontoret.

“The JTF will help alleviate this impact by investing in research and innovation and in the retraining and reskilling of workers,” the EC said.

The JTF would also support targeted investments to reduce GHG emissions in activities covered by the Emissions Trading System, such as steel and cement production, the Commission said.

“These investments are essential to maintain jobs in these sectors and will ensure that the emissions will be significantly reduced, in line with the requirements of the JTF Regulation,” it said.

Of the grant, Eur9 million would also go toward increasing the capacity of Gotland island’s electricity grid, which, with an increased share of renewable electricity generation, were “prerequisites” for converting the country’s cement plant, the EC said.

“Sweden’s aim to be climate neutral five years ahead of the EU target is truly commendable,” European Green Deal Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans said in the statement.

“The support from the Just Transition Fund agreed in this plan will help Sweden meet its targets in an inclusive and fair way, offering new perspectives to workers in the country’s most industry-heavy regions,” he added.

European steel prices have been falling in recent weeks. Platts assessed domestic HRC prices in Northern Europe at Eur755/mt ex-works Ruhr Sept. 2, down 18.1% since the start of 2022, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights data.

— Jacqueline Holman