CEO T.V. Narendran of Indian Tata Steel made a statement on the TV show Buitenhof, asserting that achieving a completely emissions-free steel plant is currently unfeasible anywhere in the world. He expressed scepticism regarding Tata’s ability to eliminate coal from their IJmuiden plant by 2030, as proposed by D66.
Narendran emphasized that some level of emissions is inherent to steel production, but he emphasized Tata Steel’s commitment to surpassing regulatory standards. He stated, “Every industry generates emissions, but our goal is to make these emissions as environmentally friendly as possible. We aim to be at the forefront of this endeavour, particularly in the Netherlands.”
The Tata Steel facility in IJmuiden is actively developing a transition plan to produce cleaner steel. However, various interest groups and political entities believe progress is not fast enough, prompting D66 to propose a ban on coal-based steel production by 2030.
Narendran cast doubt on the practicality of such a rapid transition away from coal, citing uncertainties about alternative energy sources and supply reliability. He referenced recent volatility in the natural gas market and questioned whether there would be a sufficient supply of hydrogen, which the plant requires in substantial quantities. Furthermore, he emphasized the challenge of international competition with countries like France, Germany, and Belgium.
Narendran stressed the need for government support in addition to the company’s own investments to facilitate the transition to cleaner steel production. He pointed out that no steel company worldwide has succeeded in such a transformation without government assistance.
Germany and France received approval from the European Commission in July to provide substantial financial support to their domestic steel manufacturers, assisting in their shift towards cleaner production methods.
Additionally, Narendran acknowledged concerns raised by a recent report from RIVM, which revealed that residents of the nearby Wijk aan Zee experience a shorter life expectancy and increased health risks due to emissions from Tata Steel. He expressed his concern and commitment to addressing these issues, recognizing the need for further actions to mitigate the plant’s environmental impact.