Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, is keen on fostering energy cooperation and securing vital raw resources from South America for the energy transition. The politician is making a whistle-stop tour of Argentina, Chile, and Brazil from the 28th to the 31st of January, where he will announce cooperation agreements in the areas of energy supply, energy security, and raw resources. Germany hopes to “make use of the opportunities” in both Argentina and Germany by promoting initiatives that utilize hydrogen or power-to-x (PtX) networks. Scholz stated at a news conference that “Argentina has immense potential to make possible solutions that are of great value to the globe — but of course also for Argentina itself,” citing the country’s progress in developing wind power, solar power, hydropower, and “green hydrogen.” President Alberto ngel Fernández of Argentina stated, “Argentina aspires to become a secure provider of gas and energy.” This was in reference to Argentina’s abundant natural gas reserves. Together, we discussed renewable hydrogen and lithium. Investment is required for everything. Scholz emphasized that both countries should gain from a partnership, and he added that a country should benefit from the exploitation of its own raw material deposits. Argentina has agreed to join the G7’s “Climate Club,” which works to promote a shift toward environmentally friendly industrial practices.
Scholz added that Chile has a lot of potential chances and excellent circumstances to manufacture hydrogen that is climate-neutral, therefore the two countries will work together on renewable energies and hydrogen. Furthermore, German firms are interested in increasing their raw material ties with Chile, particularly in lithium, which is used in the production of batteries for electric vehicles. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is “glad to support Chile on its journey to sustainable mining,” Scholz added. A memorandum of understanding on R&D&I collaboration and a cooperation agreement on the German-Chilean Partnership for Mining, Raw Materials, and the Circular Economy were inked. Today (January 30), the Brazilian chancellor will visit the country, where the return of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has made environmental and climate issues top priorities.
Scholz’s trip to South America is an attempt to reinvigorate the ratification of the EU-Mercosur trade accord. Following his trip to Argentina, he remarked, “It is crucial that everyone now makes a positive contribution so that we can reach an agreement and find a means to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion quickly.” German efforts to diversify its energy supply away from Russian fossil fuels are ongoing. As the country’s demand for vital raw materials rises and geopolitical tensions rise, it aspires to become less reliant on China to provide resources essential to the energy transition. Materials including iron, steel, copper, and lithium can be found in abundance in South America.