Towards a major agreement on the production of renewable energy in North America

Towards a major agreement on the production of renewable energy in North America

MYTILINEOS Energy&Metals Chairman and CEO, Evangelos Mytilineos, gave an interview to Bloomberg TV on Monday, including Markets European Close and journalists Guy Johnson and Alix Steel.

Mr. Mytileneos particularly highlighted the incentives granted to “green” investments in North America and announced a major agreement for the production of renewable energy.

While the discussion focused on the “green” transition and the actions taken by Europe in this direction, Mr. Mytilineos explained the strategic planning of MYTILINEOS Energy&Metals stressing that there can be no “green” energy without “green” metallurgy.

In detail, Mr. Mytileneos said:

Invest heavily in green energy in Europe. Would you do the same in North America?

In fact, we are investing heavily in the green transition globally. We are present in 32 countries, with a significant presence in Australia, with a significant presence in Chile and after the IRA and the new Canadian measures we are very interested in North America. That’s why I’m here for the second time this month.

Does that mean signing a deal or talking to investors?

We are close.

Which of the two are you close to? In a deal?

In an agreement.

You’re about to make a deal somewhere in North America. Is it because of the IRA? Can you tell us a bit more about the terms/terms of the deal? What do you say;

Look, the IRA is a very good set of measures. Very realistic and very good for business. The Canadian measures announced last month are also a step in the right direction and this is also very attractive for a European company. In Europe, unfortunately, things move more slowly, the system is more bureaucratic, 27-28 countries have to agree, 27-28 parliaments have to agree, and that takes time. That’s why I think that even though Europe has been at the forefront of the green transition, eventually North America will catch up and move faster.

It’s interesting! You keep talking about North America, not just the United States of America, are we in a subsidy war? Is this what you are describing? What the Americans offer, what the Canadians offer is a bit better than what the Europeans offer, so where are the subsidies? Is this the way to think about it?

Europeans don’t put money on the table, which is why many companies in the era of green transition tend to look a lot at North American markets. Europeans encourage you to do things or kick you out if you don’t. North Americans, not just the United States, are actually pushing you, subsidizing you, and so I think they’re going to go a lot faster than Europe in the future.

Because North America can’t have carrots and sticks, it’s hard for carrots in Europe. Ok, so at this point you are dealing with aluminum and you are also dealing with green energy, which is what MYTILINEOS does. Are you interested in opportunities where you decarbonize sectors such as aluminum plants or refineries or in new technologies and challenges such as green hydrogen or different types of infrastructure?

Both. Some ask me why metals and energy? In short, clean energy. This is a very simple answer, much simpler than you might think. Metals in the future will have to be “green” or they will cease to exist. So to move forward in the metal industry, we have to be very energy green. Our metallurgical activity is heavily involved in energy issues because it relies on the company’s Energy Department. And when I say energy, let’s be clear, I’m not just talking about solar or wind. It’s a whole panoply of parameters that must be taken into account for the green transition, including hydrogen, including many things. These are now more and more put on the table, people are “evaluating” them. Because we’ve been talking about going green for years, we don’t tell people what it means in terms of money, time, lost revenue sometimes, etc.

What will tomorrow’s Europe look like? In many cases, Europe failed to protect the energy-intensive businesses/industries that used to live there. As a result, all of these businesses/industries disappear. So do you think we’ve seen the worst of the energy crisis in Europe? I refer to it all the time. We are watching gas prices for next winter and they are much, much lower than we thought 2 or 3 weeks ago. Do you think next winter will go well?

Europe is in the most difficult situation in terms of energy for reasons which have been analyzed at length and which you know very well. In the global competition, the United States, North America has very cheap energy, probably 20% or 30% of the cost of European energy and now it’s much cheaper than last year. China produces 70 or 80% of its energy from coal without paying a fine like we do in Europe. Europe has very high CO2 fines and therefore has a big energy disadvantage. How can we compensate for this? The problem is that we must not rely on a “source” as we have done until now, but that we must open the whole European scene to new suppliers, such as the USA, Qatar, Norway and others. But it’s going to take time and until we get there it can be ugly and difficult again at times.

Who will win the Greek elections?

We also talked about elections last time, in 2016. It’s a very, very different situation right now. Greece is a solid western democracy, it has a clear orientation towards the EU and NATO, Turkey is not. It’s a very different story. When there are elections, whoever wins is a normal process, as in old democracies.

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