Russia's invasion of Ukraine has increased tremendously the risks to Europe's energy and climate security and has added yet another major challenge for European energy-intensive industries, which are already facing the challenge of decarbonisation. In order to avoid a trade-off between energy security and energy transition, Member States need to put in place a policy response, which empowers energy-intensive companies to decarbonise their production processes and facilitates the much-needed expansion of R&I investment. It is crucial to push for cutting-edge low-carbon technologies that lead to higher energy efficiency gains, the replacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy-based electrification, the uptake of synthetic fuels and hydrogen in manufacturing processes, as well as the optimization of the material use towards circular-based production processes.
Industrial decarbonisation was the focus of the policy roundtable on Transition of the Energy-Intensive Industries’ Ecosystem to Climate Neutrality in Eastern Europe, jointly organised by the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) and the Enterprise Europe Network Bulgaria on 15 July 2022 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
During the discussion, the speakers agreed that industrial decarbonisation is much more complex than the low-carbon transition in the energy sector and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach and solution for all industries. Although electrification is the long-term objective, high-temperature processes would still require gas, hydrogen or synthetic fuels in the short- and medium-term until new technological solutions occur. The speakers agreed that R&I, which has been driven mostly by private companies so far, needs a strong push by the government, so that the Bulgarian industrial sector would be able to withstand the current crises, while simultaneously getting on a pathway towards climate neutrality.
Follow the roundtable discussions online (event recording)