In June 2023, the RE4Industry EU project organized its final event during the European Sustainable Energy Week at Residence Palace in Brussels. The event brought together 50 experts to discuss the future of European Industry in relation to the #European Union’s decarbonization plans.

Alessandro Polito, representing European Commission – DG Energy, emphasized the significance of renewables in addressing climate change, creating jobs, fostering growth, and driving innovation and competitiveness. He expressed hope that including the industry in the Renewable Energy Directive for the first time would change perspectives on renewable energy and bring forward the transition. Polito also highlighted the need to accelerate and update renewable energy sources, as currently, 91% of the industry’s energy consumption still comes from fossil fuels.

During the session, Olgu Gizem Birgi and Anatoli Rontogianni from RE4Industry EU project provided an overview of renewable energy within the project framework and showcased successful cases of renewable energy implementation.

Diego Redondo from Retrofeed EU project, a collaborating HORIZON2020 project, presented the project’s concept and preliminary results. He mentioned that the project had already achieved a 12% reduction in Co2 emissions through developed solutions. The project coordinator expressed confidence that the final project results would align with the initial impact projections.

The roundtable discussion titled “Success cases and remaining challenges – views from the sectors” involved speakers from various organizations. The panel allowed the audience to participate and ask questions.

Some critical thoughts from the discussion mentioned that some industries with significant raw materials requirements are unable to relocate their production, making infrastructure a decision factor for furtherly progressing towards this end. Another key thought stressed that many industries recognize electrification as a decarbonization solution, but it has not been widely adopted due to the need for upscaling and support. Moreover, speakers remembered that achieving EU decarbonization requires a circular economy market and a common industrial policy, ensuring fair opportunities for all companies to decarbonize. Another suggestion worth mentioning is the idea that instead of investing heavily in transforming industries to accommodate renewable energy, it would be more beneficial to relocate some of these industries to countries like Portugal and Spain, where sustainable solutions are already available. Furthermore, it was highlighted that competitive renewable energy prices are essential for decarbonization, necessitating stable pricing in the energy market. Finally, the discussion also mentioned that companies are already making significant efforts and investments toward decarbonization.

Brigitte Hasewend from ESEIA – European Sustainable Energy Innovation Alliance, a consortium member of the RE4Industry EU project, summarized the session’s conclusions. She emphasized the challenging task of decarbonizing Europe’s Energy Intensive Industry sector but highlighted the shared aspirations and collaborative efforts toward the same goal. Hasewend also stressed the importance of a supportive legal framework, public education, and collective responsibility in achieving decarbonization.