Towards a grand agreement on renewable energy production in North America

By | May 16, 2023

The president and CEO of MYTILINEOS Energy&Metals, Evangelos Mytilineos, gave an interview on Monday to Bloomberg TV, specifically to the Markets European Close program and to journalists Guy Johnson and Alix Steel.

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

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

In detail, Mr. Mytileneos stated:

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 on a global scale. 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 quite 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.

Are you close to which of the two? In a deal?

In an agreement.

You’re close to closing a deal, somewhere in North America. Is this because of the IRA? Can you tell us a bit more about the terms/terms of the deal? What are you saying;

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 moving 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. So I believe that while Europe has been at the forefront of the green transition, North America will eventually 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 little better than what the Europeans offer, so where are the subsidies? Is this how we should think about it?

Europeans don’t put money on the table, which is why many companies in the green transition era generally look a lot to North American markets. Europeans encourage you to do things or kick you out if you don’t. The North Americans, not just the US, are actually pushing them, actually subsidizing them, so I think they will move much faster than Europe in the future.

Because North America can’t have the carrot and stick, it’s hard for carrots in Europe. Well, at this point you are dealing with aluminum and you are also dealing with green energy, that is what MYTILINEOS does. Are you interested in opportunities where you are decarbonizing sectors like aluminum plants or refineries or in new technologies and new topics like green hydrogen or different types of infrastructure?

Both. Some ask me why metals and energy? Basically clean energy. It is a very simple answer, much simpler than one might think. The metals of the future will have to be “green” or they will cease to exist. So to advance in the metal industry, we need to be very energy green. Our metallurgical activity is closely related to energy because it has the support of the company’s Department of Energy. And when I say energy, let’s be clear, I don’t mean just solar or wind. It’s a whole range of parameters that need to be considered for the green transition, including hydrogen, which includes a lot of things. These are now being put on the table more and more, people are “pricing” them. Because we’ve been talking about going green for years, we don’t tell people what that means in terms of money, in terms of time, in terms of lost income sometimes, etc.

What does Europe look like in the future? In many cases, Europe has not protected the energy intensive companies/industries that previously lived there. As a result, all these companies/industries disappear. So do you think we have seen the worst of the energy crisis in Europe? I mean this all the time. We are looking at gas prices for the coming winter and they are much, much lower than we thought 2-3 weeks ago. Do you think next winter will be okay?

Europe is in the most difficult situation when it comes to energy for reasons that have been discussed at length and are well known to you. In the global competition, the US, North America has very cheap energy, probably 20% or 30% of the cost of European energy and it’s much cheaper now than it was last year. China produces 70% or 80% of its energy from coal without paying fines like we do in Europe. Europe has very high CO2 fines and is therefore at a huge energy disadvantage. How can we compensate for this? The problem is that we don’t have to depend on one “source” as we have done so far, but we have to open up the whole European landscape to new providers, like the US, Qatar, Norway and others. But it’s going to take time and until we get there, the situation can again be ugly and difficult at times.

Who will win the Greek elections?

We also last talked about the election, 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, it is not Turkey. It is a very different story. When elections are held, whoever wins, it is a normal process, as in the old democracies.

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