Green Deal and Low Carbon Economy
The European ferro-alloys and silicon industry is playing an active role towards the realisation of a low carbon economy in Europe. EUROALLIAGES’ members have shown their commitment to this objective through various achievements with regard to technological improvements linked to energy efficiency and emission reductions.
In September 2018, a study has been commissioned by 11 EU Energy-Intensive sectors through a High Level Group, including EUROALLIAGES as a contribution to the upcoming review of Europe's 2050 strategy. The study, entitled "A Bridge Towards a Carbon Neutral Europe: Europe’s Energy Intensive Industries contribution to the EU Strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reductions", has been drafted by the Institute for European Studies to the Free University of Brussels (IES, VUB). It describes a combination of possible key solutions that will help the EU Energy-Intensive Industry achieve significant emissions reduction and at the same time remain competitive, innovative and pivotal in enabling the transition to a low-carbon economy.
- Addenda: https://www.ies.be/files/Addenda.pdf
In February 2019, the High-Level Group agreed to go a step further and develop an Industrial Transformation Masterplan for the implementation of EIIs’ transition towards a climate-neutral and circular EU economy by 2050. The Masterplan is the result of this collective work inspired by the shared ambition of seizing the opportunities of the transition to a climate-neutral economy while addressing the challenge of a fragmented international climate action. The Masterplan is both a contribution to the new Industrial Strategy and a basis for continued collaborative work:
Vision 2050 of the ferro-alloys and silicon Industry
EUROALLIAGES’ members are committed to the realisation of a sustainable European policy by 2050. They play an active role towards the definition of feasible solutions that would ensure the implementation of the highest environmental and social standards worldwide in the sector they represent.
In order to pave the way for the role of the ferro-alloys and silicon industry in the low-carbon economy that Europe is pursuing for 2050, EUROALLIAGES has developed its own vision for the future by 2050. The document presenting the key milestones for the sector, can be found here after. Related summaries in English, French and Spanish can also be downloaded:
In March 2020, the European Commission has presented the so-called “Climate Law”, a proposal for a regulation to enshrine in legislation the EU's political commitment to be climate neutral by 2050.
In concrete, the European Commission proposes:
• A legally binding target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, including measures to keep track of progress and adjust Member States actions, based on existing systems such as the National Energy and Climate Plans, regular reports by the European Environment Agency (EEA), and the latest scientific evidence on climate change and its impacts. Progress will be reviewed every five years.
• After conducting a new impact assessment (not before September this year), a more ambitious 2030 EU-target for greenhouse gas emission reduction which can move from current the -40% GHG emissions to -55% compared to 1990 levels.
• By June 2021, a revision, and where necessary propose to update, of all relevant policy instruments to achieve the additional emission reductions for 2030.
EUROALLIAGES has replied to this consultation outlining the key framework conditions to contribute to the low carbon ambitions. In addition, the following message was addressed related to the Covide 19 crisis:
Among the different scenarios, the European Commission should include, at least, one crisis-scenario in which key recession indicators (i.e. lower industrial output, higher unemployment rates, the volatility of the CO2 price, etc.) are introduced in the modelling to reflect the potential economic effects of the on-going COVID-19 sanitary crisis.
EUROALLIAGES also took part to a Position Paper of the Energy-Intensive Industries:
As a follow up of the Climate Law initiative, the Commission launched in March 2020 its 2030 Climate Target Plan Inception Impact Assessment and Roadmap for public consultation aiming at becoming climate-neutral (net zero greenhouse gas emissions) by 2050. To achieve this, it is proposed a cut in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 50% to 55% for 2030 from 1990 levels, rather than at least 40% currently, including an amendment to the recently proposed European Climate Law. The initiative intends also to assess the economic, social and environmental impacts possible policy measures. EUROALLIAGES replied to these consultations and joint the collective answer of the Alliance of Energy Intensive Industries:
Carbon Boarder Adjustment Mechanism
End of 2019, the European Commission announced that it will “propose a carbon border adjustment mechanism, for selected sectors, to reduce the risk of carbon leakage” in the European Green Deal published on the 11th of December.
EUROALLIAGES represents an energy-intensive industry. For our sector, electricity is a critical resource with no substitute. The energy cost represents a major part of production costs. Highly effective energy consumption is therefore a central competitive factor for EUROALLIAGES’ members.
The production of ferro-alloys and silicon is subject to electrometallurgical processes which go along with intrinsic and unavoidable process emissions. The European industry has been investing and improving the level of process emissions and has today almost reached the ceiling of improvement with the technologies currently available. Besides, the last digits of improvement that are close to the physical limits are the most costly to achieve for marginal gains.
It is therefore vital for the European ferro-alloys and silicon sector that the burden is not increased by making it the subject of mandatory energy saving schemes.
However, the European ferro-alloys and silicon sector will continue to play an active role towards the achievement of the European climate and energy policy targets and contribute to energy efficiency policy where possible. In order to ensure that the legislation which paves the way is realistic and feasible, it is necessary to give a central place to the economic viability of the energy saving schemes and to assess and duly take into account their impact on the international competitiveness of the European industry.
Any energy saving scheme should be limited to the situations where it is economically compatible with process characteristics, process scale, grid operating conditions and potential local consumption. These conditions must be assessed at local level.
Moreover, the development of appropriate financing is of utmost importance as it appears in the majority of the cases as a decisive factor in the effective implementation of energy recovery. EUROALLIAGES insists that financial support to energy saving projects should be a central point in the realisation of the European energy efficiency policy.
EUROALLIAGES strongly supports the encouragement of demand response, which is still an underused and undervalued measure in many energy markets. Improved use of this instrument will help reduce the need for development of new grids and production capacity and as such be vital for the socioeconomic sustainability of our new energy future.
It is important, however, that demand response is initiated through market mechanisms, where demand and production can offer their services on a European level playing field.
EUROALLIAGES also believes that the structure of network tariffication can be an important measure in initiating more efficient use of the electricity grid, and overall energy efficiency. Due to the unavoidable feature of electricity - grid losses - one should avoid long distance transport of electricity, unless it is strictly necessary.