The glass manufacturing industry in Germany’s southern Thuringia and northern Bavaria is to be given support in converting its energy supply and production processes to more cost-effective, CO2-neutral energy sources.

The Economics Ministers of Thuringia and Bavaria, Wolfgang Tiefensee and Hubert Aiwanger, representatives of the regional glass industry and the districts, chambers and collective bargaining parties agreed on this at a meeting in Steinbach am Wald.

The aim is to set up a model region for the decarbonisation of the glass industry on the Rennsteig.

Despite rising energy costs and tougher competitive conditions, the energy conversion should be managed and the region strengthened as Germany's "glass heart".

Nikolaus Wiegand, Managing Director of Wiegand-Glas said: "The round table that has now been set up is the result of a dialogue process that began early on after the start of the energy crisis.

“The high costs of transforming our company and the resulting major planning and strategic challenges would not be manageable for our company from day-to-day business operations.

“Accordingly, we are pleased that the federal states have decided on this joint, cross-state initiative with and for the benefit of industry.

“We are convinced that the results of this work process that has now been initiated will have an impact far beyond the glass industry for all companies based in the Thuringian-Franconian Rennsteig region.”

Thuringia's Economics Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee, said: "The glass industry plays a special role in the energy conversion of the economy due to its CO2 intensity and the requirements for alternative technologies and infrastructures.

"Beyond the current crisis management, we therefore need a medium-term transformation strategy in order to ensure the competitiveness of the industry and to be able to keep it in Germany despite the currently difficult general conditions."

Bavaria's Economics Minister Hubert Aiwanger, said: ”Decarbonisation and high energy prices must not bankrupt these companies or force them to relocate.

“Otherwise we'll be left empty-handed and have to import goods from China or the USA that we could actually produce ourselves.

“Innovative solutions and hydrogen as well as a competitive industrial electricity price are the key to remaining internationally competitive and securing jobs in Germany.”

Around 8,000 people work in the glass production sector in the Thuringian-Franconian Rennsteig region.

The glass and ceramics industry is one of the most energy-intensive sectors of the region’s economy.

The impulse paper for the "model region for the decarbonisation of the glass industry on the Rennsteig" can be found here