Speech by President von der Leyen on the occasion of launching the storage of CO2 in the first full value chain Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) project in the EU (Project Greensand), via video message

“Check against delivery”

Your Majesty,
Prime Minister, dear Mette,
CEOs of Ineos and Wintershall Dea,

Distinguished guests,

I am delighted to join you virtually for this project launch.

This is a big moment for Europe’s green transition and our clean tech industry. The first ever, full value chain for carbon capture and storage in Europe. You are showing that it can be done. That we can grow our industry, through innovation and competition. And at the same time, remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere, through ingenuity and cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

this is what Europe’s competitive sustainability is all about.

Let me begin by once again applauding our Danish hosts and friends for their longstanding green leadership. In the 1970s, Denmark began investing in offshore wind. 50 years later, thanks to this foresight, we have a time proven solution to Europe’s energy security. Last year, for the first time ever, wind and solar produced more electricity in Europe than any fossil source.

And not just that.

We are now also using the depleted oil and gas fields in the North Sea to send carbon back down into the ground. It shows, once again, that the North Sea is increasingly playing a crucial role in Europe’s net-zero future.

This is a story worth sharing. It’s a European success story of cross-border cooperation.

CO2 that is captured in Belgium and soon Germany, is loaded onto ships in the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, and stored thanks to Danish pioneering spirit. It is a story that involves dozens of European small businesses, research institutes, and industrial champions.

A European value chain at its best.

This project helps our industry as well as the climate. The Greensand project aims to store safely and permanently up to 8 mega tons of CO2 per year by 2030. To put this in perspective, this corresponds to over 10% of Denmark’s current annual CO2 emissions, or the yearly carbon footprint of nearly 1 million Danish citizens.

This project is therefore a significant step towards European carbon neutrality. The science is clear: industrial carbon removal is a necessary part of our climate toolbox. The International Energy Agency and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are on the same page.

To to keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees we need to remove carbon on top of our efforts to reduce emissions. Because for the EU to become climate neutral, we need to industrially store around 300 mega tons of CO2 annually by 2050. This is a staggering amount. But you are showing how it can be done. With European cooperation.

As this project demonstrates the tremendous know-how we have in Europe. It is one of the key assets that will help us build the infrastructure and the economy of tomorrow. Supporting Europe’s clean tech sector is a priority for the European Commission. That’s why I have just proposed a new Green Deal Industrial Plan.

We are making full use of our Single Market, which will lead to economies of scale, and further bring down costs. We are simplifying regulation to incentivise technologies, such as carbon removal, and to speed up permitting.

We are supporting with investment –

  • from research and development, with Horizon Europe,
  • to scaling up clean tech, with the Innovation Fund.

So far, we have awarded over 2.8 billion euros for 24 industrial decarbonisation projects. A new Innovation Fund call is open with a record 3-billion-euro budget. And later this year, the Commission will publish a comprehensive strategy on carbon capture, use and storage.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

we have started a mission to secure Europe’s industrial edge, create good and meaningful jobs, and fix our planet. Carbon removal is part of this mission. I would therefore like to thank everyone involved in this project. It is thanks to pioneers like you, that Europe is leading the way in the race to net-zero emissions.

Thank you.