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Fig. 1. Saarland’s Economics Minister Jürgen Barke, RAG board member Michael Kalthoff and RAG regional representative Michael Drobniewski (from left to right). Photo: BeckerBredel/Laura Ockenfels

Saarland Ministry of Economic Affairs and RAG sign letter of intent: Cooperation in the expansion of renewable energy

The Saarland Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digital and Energy (MWIDE) and RAG Aktiengesellschaft, Essen/Germany, with its subsidiary RAG Montan Immobilien want to join forces to expand renewable energy in Saarland. Minister of Economic Affairs Jürgen Barke and RAG Board Member Michael Kalthoff signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to this effect on 17th November 2023 (Figure 1).

In recent decades, Saarland has transformed itself from a coal and steel region to a multi-faceted industrial and service location with an international focus. In this context, the move away from fossil fuels and the expansion and strategic promotion of renewable energies are key steps towards making Saarland not only crisis-proof but also future-proof. The success of the energy transition and the green transformation of companies is therefore a key function for the Saarland as a business location.

RAG is contributing to the LOI by examining its own areas for the expansion of renewable energies. After covering its own requirements, around 25 ha are currently to be made available for electricity production for commercial enterprises in Saarland. RAG will seek to cooperate with Saarland companies in the development and realisation process. Space, area and operating data will be exchanged with the state, associated organisations and scientific institutes. Best-practice solutions for the future planning and construction of renewable energy plants are also to be developed and considerations on citizen participation orientated towards the common good are to be promoted.

The MWIDE provides technical and political support for these processes. On the one hand, the aim will be to focus on legal requirements in the planning and realisation of renewable energy projects at an early stage and to implement these quickly. On the other hand, questions and dialogue on ways to speed up procedures and measures are also part of this. Various event formats are to be organised and supported in order to jointly promote the implementation of renewable energy projects to the public.

Kalthoff is looking forward to working with the ministry: “The RAG Group has a significant portfolio of conversion sites in the Ruhr and Saar regions and we are happy to support the plans to expand renewable energy. RAG wants to make a sustainable contribution – to regions worth living in, which are also home to the company. This is also an important part of our corporate strategy. In future, we will also cover our energy requirements for the operation of our water storage and administrative sites with our own green electricity. Our aim is to be CO2-neutral by 2030.”

Barke: “Due to our historical, industrial structure, we in Saarland are particularly affected by the green transformation. Saarland is also very densely populated and the competition for land is clearly noticeable. We Saarlanders are no strangers to change. We have learnt to see it as an opportunity. Against this backdrop, I am delighted that we have succeeded in initiating a cooperation that will accompany both the state and RAG into the future. The energy transition, with its many and varied requirements, is essential for Saarland – it is the prerequisite for our economic future and the preservation of the location. Joint models and projects between the state and companies like this are needed. I would therefore be delighted if our cooperation were to set a precedent.” (RAG/Si.)