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 SDR region also has the largest regional consumption of hydrogen in the Benelux.
The SDR region naturally offers perspective for the generation and landing of renewable energy, in addition to space to establish sustainable new industry. The first large-scale offshore wind farms Borsele I-IV will come into production this year (1.5 GW in 2021). Furthermore, conversion to green hydrogen also has a high potential for optimising the energy system in the Schelde-Deltaregion. The rapid landing of offshore wind energy will give the region direct access to thousands of megawatts of wind energy (Borsele I-II-III-IV wind farm and possibly IJmuiden Ver Alpha). In addition, there is a prospect of a high-quality gas/380 kV electricity infrastructure from the Sloe area and Rodenhuize (Flanders) with cross-border possibilities for balancing electricity (BE/NL). Optionally there are possibilities of CO2 neutral energy for orange hydrogen production in the Borssele nuclear power plant and (connection to) a H2 backbone. This vision of the future, however, still requires substantial investments from industry and government.