Paper and Steel Producers Turn to Wind Energy


To tackle the rising energy costs and meet climate targets, Koehler Paper and Badische Stahlwerke, in collaboration with the Kehl Port Authority, have initiated a feasibility study to explore the potential of building wind turbines at their sites in Kehl.

Energy Costs and Renewable Energy Goals

In the past two years, energy costs in Germany have soared, posing a significant challenge for energy-intensive industries like Koehler Paper and Badische Stahlwerke, which face fierce international competition. Both companies require substantial amounts of renewable energy to meet their self-imposed climate goals and those set by the federal government and the state of Baden-Württemberg.

Feasibility Study and Wind Measurement

To address these challenges, the two companies, together with Kehl Port Authority, have embarked on a feasibility study for wind energy. The aim is to determine if it is viable to build wind turbines for self-supply on their premises in the Rhine Port of Kehl. Koehler Renewable Energy and the Ökostromgruppe Freiburg are providing support for this initiative.

Environmental impact assessments and species protection studies have already been commissioned, and wind measurements are set to begin in June. The feasibility study will also evaluate noise emissions and economic viability. The study is expected to continue until the summer of 2025, at which point it will be clear whether the site is suitable for wind turbines. If the results are positive, the Ökostromgruppe Freiburg, in partnership with Koehler Renewable Energy, plans to submit a construction permit application for wind turbines by the end of 2025. By then, the number and specific locations of the planned turbines will also be finalized.

Steps Towards Energy Security and Climate-Neutral Production

“As an electric steel plant on the path to climate neutrality, we depend on the adequate availability of green electricity at competitive prices,” said Andreas Volkert, one of the managing directors of Badische Stahlwerke. “I am very pleased that we are now tackling this project together with Koehler Paper and the Kehl Port Authority. If the construction of wind turbines in the Rhine Port of Kehl is feasible, it would be a crucial component in securing our energy supply and a significant step towards CO2-neutral steel production.”

Dr. Stefan Karrer, Chief Technology Officer of the Koehler Group, added, “If the feasibility study yields positive results and we can build wind turbines on the Rhine Port Kehl site, it would be a significant advance in our self-supply of electricity. For companies like ours with energy-intensive production processes, this is one of the most urgent issues: how can we ensure the long-term availability of energy and thus the economic viability of the site? Ultimately, it’s about the long-term security of our locations and jobs in Germany.”

Kehl Mayor Wolfram Britz also considers this a crucial issue. He was involved early on and supports the feasibility study, stating, “CO2-neutral companies in the Rhine Port of Kehl, self-sufficient energy supply, secure jobs – not only do our city’s citizens benefit from this, but so do those in neighboring communities. That’s why the exchange with the city of Strasbourg and the Eurométropole de Strasbourg is so important to me.”

For nearly 125 years, the Rhine Port of Kehl has been a central transshipment port for the Baden economic area. Covering an area of 320 hectares, it hosts numerous international economic players such as Koehler Paper and Badische Stahlwerke.