The transnational cooperation between the Flemish and Dutch industry, government and other organizations is widely recognized and both governments have identified the Schelde-Deltaregion as a region of particular importance with a view to the energy transition within the industry.
Region of particular importance in energy transition
The Schelde-Deltaregion stretches from Bergen op Zoom towards Vlissingen, Terneuzen and along the Canal Zone to Ghent. The industries in the Schelde-Deltaregion are competitive, energy-intensive, diverse, complementary and are among the (innovative) global leaders in the chemical, energy, steel and food sectors. The multi-layered importance of the SDR region is endorsed by both the Netherlands and Flanders. For example, North Sea Port as a port in the SDR region alone has an economic added value of 14 billion euros and (in)direct employment of 100,000 jobs. On both sides of the border, making the cluster more sustainable is crucial to maintain the current industry and to safeguard an attractive business and investment climate. The transnational cooperation between Flemish and Dutch industry, government and other organisations is widely recognised and both governments have identified the Schelde-Deltaregion as a region of special importance with a view to energy transition within industry.
Given that it’s not only the economic importance of the region that is significant, this also applies to the potential impact on the realisation of the Paris Climate Agreement, the Green Deal and the Dutch Climate Agreement. The scale of the SDR region is not only substantial in terms of CO2 emissions (over 22 Mtonnes per year, evenly distributed on both sides of the border), the SDR region also has (with an industrial consumption of no less than 580 ktonnes of H2 per year) the largest regional hydrogen consumption in the Benelux. Large-scale production of green hydrogen in the SDR region also offers enormous opportunities from this scale to replace existing hydrogen consumption and to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. This makes the opportunities for sustainability via blue hydrogen with CCS to green hydrogen through electrolysis extremely favourable. The use of hydrogen from base-load nuclear energy could also develop into an economic advantage in the longer term, with excellent opportunities for the achievement of a more stable and diversified energy supply.
The scale of the SDR region is not only substantial in terms of CO2 emissions, the region also has the largest regional consumption of hydrogen in the Benelux.
One of the five industrial clusters in the Netherlands is located in the Scheldt Delta region, where more than a fifth of Dutch industrial CO2 emissions occur in the Dutch part. Making industry in this region more sustainable makes a significant contribution to achieving the climate objectives. The consumption of almost 600 kton of hydrogen per year also makes the region the largest hydrogen consumer in the Benelux. This is expected to grow to 1080 kton per year in 2050. Large-scale production of green hydrogen offers enormous opportunities to replace existing hydrogen consumption and thus quickly reduce CO2 emissions. The Scheldt Delta region naturally offers great prospects for the generation and landing of green energy. Landing of green energy from large-scale offshore wind farms off the coast (Borssele I-IV, IJmuiden Ver Alpha, Nederwiek) and direct conversion to green hydrogen have a high potential for optimally organizing the energy system in the Scheldt Delta region. The possibilities to produce green hydrogen on a large scale, to consume it locally and to import and export it via existing ports make the region a potential Green Energy Hub of European importance.