Energy-intensive companies can hope for state aid if they want to convert their production to be climate-neutral. Not only large corporations, but also medium-sized companies should benefit from the “climate protection agreements”.
Energy-intensive companies can still apply this year for government aid worth billions to switch to CO2-neutral production. This was announced by Economics and Climate Minister Robert Habeck. The Green politician spoke of an amount in the double-digit billions that should help companies in the steel, chemical, cement or glass industries through so-called climate protection agreements over the next 15 years.
Above all, the money is intended to compensate for higher costs due to the switch to climate-friendly production. The prerequisites are the use of 100 percent green electricity and previous emissions of ten kilotons of CO2 per year and company. That is why the climate protection agreements are also aimed at energy-intensive medium-sized companies and not just at very large companies, stressed Habeck.
Whoever rebuilds the cheapest should be supported
The aim is to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in industry while at the same time maintaining the competitiveness of companies in Germany. “We want a CO2 reduction and at the same time have an intact industry in Europe,” said Habeck. A single tendering process is currently planned for this year, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
Companies then have two months to express their interest in a so-called preparatory process. Habeck said there would only be further bidding rounds if the subsidy amount was not exhausted at the following auction by the end of the year. Funding is to be provided in a bidding process. That means companies must bid how much government support they need to avoid a ton of carbon emissions with the technology shift.
The contract is then awarded to those companies that want to achieve the production conversion at the lowest cost. In return, the usual documentation and verification obligations, which would have led to a high burden on companies and complex approval procedures, would no longer apply within the legal framework, according to the ministry.
Habeck with confidence affordability
According to Habeck’s estimates, 350 megatons of carbon dioxide could be saved by 2045. “That’s about a third of the sector target in industry just through this instrument,” Habeck said. Germany is a pioneer in this form of low-bureaucratic support, which only the Netherlands has tried so far.
The exact amount of the total funding has not yet been clarified. However, Habeck was confident that there would be no more problems in the budget process. In addition, the EU Commission has given its approval in principle to this instrument, even if there are still open questions regarding state aid law. Among other things, it still has to be clarified how these subsidies can be combined with investment aid for large companies, for example, said the Green politician.