France plans to allocate €5.6bn to decarbonise industry

A total of €5.6 billion will be allocated to decarbonising industry as part of the France 2030 plan, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on 4 February during a visit to the ArcelorMittal site in Dunkirk.

Of the total figure, €5 billion will be for the deployment of new technologies on industrial sites, while the remaining €610 million will be used to support innovation and research for a low-carbon industry. “The State must be at your side,” the Prime Minister said.

This amount is in addition to the “€1 billion to support the deployment of mature technologies” such as renewable heat, “for the benefit of all companies”, Castex added.

“The nation is going to make a massive but essential effort to bring our industry fully into the era of decarbonisation, to make France a leader in the green industry.”

The measure supports the decarbonisation roadmaps prepared by industrial sectors such as steel, cement, chemicals and metallurgy.

The same day, the so-called ‘Mines & Metallurgy’ strategic committee presented a Steel Plan drafted in collaboration with the state, which aims to implement joint actions between manufacturers, trade unions and public authorities in order to reach carbon-neutrality by 2050.

Modernising Fos and Dunkerque

The ArcelorMittal group presented to Castex its project – backed by the State – for the transformation of the steelworks in Fos-sur-mer and Dunkirk, which comes with an investment to the tune of nearly €1.7 billion.

“From 2027, equipment will gradually replace three of the five current blast furnaces by 2030: an electric furnace in Fos and a direct reduction unit in Dunkirk,” ArcelorMittal stated in a press release. The aim is to “transform the iron ore with hydrogen, without using coal”. It will be coupled with “an innovative electric furnace technology, and completed by an additional electric furnace,” the group added.

“ArcelorMittal is committed, as a leading steel producer, to the decarbonisation of our plants in Europe in order to serve our industrial customers in the automotive, packaging, construction and transport sectors, as well as in solar energy, wind power and future hydrogen and CO2 capture networks,” said ArcelorMittal Europe-Produits Plats CEO Yves Koeberlé.

“We are grateful for the state’s support in enabling this major transformation of these two sites in France, which represent more than a third of our flat steel production in Europe,” the CEO added.

The Prime Minister, for his part, specified that ArcelorMittal’s project should make it possible to reduce the emissions of these industrial sites “by up to 8 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030. This is a 10% reduction in our [French] industrial emissions, a third of the total effort to be made by 2030 for the industry”.

“2% of France’s greenhouse gas emissions. That’s what the decarbonisation of these ArcelorMittal steel production plants will avoid”, Ecological Transition Minister Barbara Pompili added on Twitter.

“The approach implemented in the steel sector is exemplary of the one we want to deploy in all sectors of the economy, within the framework of a form of ecological planning that is essential for achieving our climate objectives,” Pompili also added in a press release.

Backing from the EU?

However, France, following its commitment to decarbonising its industry, is also counting on backing from the EU.

“Europe must help us, including in the financing that all these transitions require, with the evolution of regulations that are absolutely essential, but also with the need to protect our sovereignty,” stressed Castex.

The Prime Minister asked for the EU to “[lead] decarbonisation” and “fight against carbon leakage”.

“This is what is at stake in particular with the carbon border tax”, Castex continued, adding that “it would be a historic turning point if this subject were to make significant progress, or even succeed, under the French Presidency of the EU Council.”

On 31 January and 1 February, the EU’s industry ministers met in Lens, France for an informal meeting of the Competitiveness Council, during which they discussed industry’s decarbonisation.


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