North Sea Port throws its weight behind sustainable energy supplies in the Flemish ports and beyond with Flux50

Published on Fri 1 Oct 2021
The Flemish ports have a pioneering role to play in the development of a sustainable and affordable energy supply. The Flemish energy cluster Flux50 wants to promote their further development as international energy hubs. North Sea Port is working hard to make that happen.

On Monday 27 September, 40 CEOs of ports and leading port companies gave the green light to a new innovation plan. Through structural investments in infrastructure and innovation, they want to strengthen the international leadership position of the Flemish ports in terms of sustainable energy supplies. The switch to energy from renewable sources will result in a considerable reduction in CO2 emissions in the port areas. This transition will also benefit the competitive position of the Flemish ports and local employment.

Four pillars

The innovation plan is based on four pillars:

- Drawing up a cross-border energy plan.

- Promoting the development of cross-sector expertise in large-scale energy storage.

- Developing international value chains that enable the import of energy via the Flemish ports.

- Converting industrial sites and clusters into smart energy communities.

The project fits perfectly with North Sea Port’s aims, underlines CEO Daan Schalck:

"Our port has experience of cross-border cooperation between industrial clusters with regard to heat, CO2 and hydrogen – including the necessary associated infrastructure – in the chemicals, steel, automotive and paper production sectors. These innovative industry clusters are clearly the way forward."

United Nations: no time to waste

Time is running out, as the United Nations and the IPCC climate panel once again made clear a month ago. Climate change is happening faster than predicted and urgent action is needed to avoid even greater long-term catastrophes was the key message of its latest report.

At the same time, electricity demand is expected to double by 2050. To meet this increased demand, renewable energy sources need to be available for flexible use. Energy imports will also continue to play a role in ensuring security of supply. Once again, ports will be at the forefront. An additional challenge is to keep the new green electricity affordable for everyone, consumers and businesses alike.