The Juncker Commission today launched the largest industrial policy decision it will take in its entire mandate, with the new proposal for the EU Emission Trading System. The proposal has a number of good elements but falls short in its protection of energy intensive industries. Member states hold the key to the solution. In October 2014 the European Council recognised that measures to protect energy intensive industry from carbon leakage should be maintained when revising the EU ETS. The Council concluded the most efficient installations in sectors such as the pulp and paper industry should not face undue carbon costs that would impact their global competitiveness.
Member states however added expectations on the revenues they want from the EU ETS. Today’s proposal therefore fixes the share of auctioning vs. the share of free allocation. “The proposal shows the member states cannot have their cake and eat it. If policy makers in Brussels and the member states are serious on growths and jobs, the fixed share of free allocation should be changed to really protect industry as agreed by the Heads of State”, said Marco Mensink, CEPI Director General.
CEPI does appreciate the focus on low carbon investments and support for technology and innovation in the new proposal. The use of more accurate production data is good, even though the proposal could be more ambitious. CEPI also believes the linear reduction of the benchmarks used for free allocation is reasonable and improves predictability.
The proposal does however not solve the lack of free allocation for Combined Heat and Power Plants in Europe, which has been an additional factor in closing down very carbon efficient gas-fired energy plants in Europe. The pulp and paper industry is a leading CHP sector, producing over 50% of its electricity consumption by itself.
Finally, the proposal strengthens the focus of member states on compensation for higher electricity costs to industry, but does not lead to a harmonised EU approach, which is what the internal market requires. Member States have to align their compensation schemes, so industry is treated equal across Europe.
The European Pulp and Paper Industry is a globally competing sector, with over 700 installations covered by the EU ETS. Total sector fossil CO2 emissions were 31 Million tonnes in 2014, already reduced from 43 Million tonnes of CO2 in 2005. The sector has a clear focus on breakthrough technology programmes through its 2050 Low Carbon Roadmap for the Forest Fibre Sector. “Sufficient carbon leakage protection is essential, especially for sectors that want to invest in low carbon technologies in Europe. In order to reduce emissions, we need to be attractive for investments”, concluded Marco Mensink. CEPI calls upon the policy makers to rethink their approach.
For more information, please contact Marco Mensink at firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile +32475769388
Note to the Editor
CEPI aisbl - The Confederation of European Paper Industries
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) is a Brussels-based non-profit organisation regrouping the European pulp and paper industry and championing industry’s achievements and the benefits of its products. Through its 18 member countries (17 European Union members plus Norway) CEPI represents some 505 pulp, paper and board producing companies across Europe, ranging from small and medium sized companies to multi-nationals, and 920 paper mills. Together they represent 23% of world production.
The competitiveness of energy intensive industries is a pre-condition for EU growth
Brussels 15 July 2015: Energy intensive industries are voicing concern about their capacity to remain competitive and attract investment in Europe following the publication of the Commission’s proposal for the reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). We call on EU policy makers to ensure that the post-2020 carbon leakage provisions fully offset direct and indirect costs at the level of best performers with no cross sectoral correction factor.
The Alliance of Energy Intensive Industries supports the fight against climate change and the Commission’s ambition to transform the EU into a competitive, low-carbon economy. Our industries play an instrumental role in delivering the technologies and solutions to reach that common goal.
The ETS is an important tool to be used in achieving this common ambition. However, the initial assessment is that the Commission proposals’ contents are inadequate. They elicit severe concern for energy intensive industries as they undermine the EU’s own key priorities on investment, job creation and growth in Europe.
Energy intensive sectors are capital-intensive. A large part of their investments are geared towards energy efficiency, decarbonisation and emission reduction efforts, in full support of the Climate and Energy Package 2030. However, securing these investments and preventing them from leaking outside of the EU requires strong carbon leakage provisions.
The current Commission proposals fall short on this requirement. In particular, fixing the auction share means shrinking available free allocations for manufacturing industry. Under the proposed rules even Europe’s most carbon-efficient installations in exposed sectors would face significant direct and indirect carbon costs.
We call on the Council and the Parliament to reform the ETS system in such a way that the economy can resume growth and that the most carbon efficient undertakings are not incurring a carbon cost penalty.
The Alliance of Energy Intensive Industries, representing over 30.000 European companies and 4 million jobs, wishes to be an active contributor in the upcoming revision of the EU ETS. This paper contains Alliance proposals on carbon leakage protection, free allocation principles and competitiveness under ETS Phase IV to ensure simple, fair, predictable and effective rules i.e.:
- Carbon leakage protection needs to be the first element of the ETS revision based on the same criteria and assumptions as under Phase III, as well as on technically and economically achievable benchmarks;
- An EU-wide harmonized system must be put in place, which fully off-sets direct and indirect costs at the level of the most efficient installations in all Member States; therefore, no cross-sectoral correction factor should be applied to free allocation;
- Allocation methodology must be closely aligned with real/recent production levels;
- Innovation support must be extended to industrial sectors;
These principles are fully compatible with the March and October 2014 European Council Conclusions and reflect the industry contribution to the Commission questionnaire, following the meeting with Commissioner Arias Cañete in February 2015. Those principles are further detailed below.
Best industrial performers must not be penalized by ETS allocation rules
The concept of declining free allocation for industry is in contrast to the need for full protection against carbon leakage and should not serve as a justification to reduce protection. The limit on the total issuance of allowances in ETS sectors defined by Heads of State and governments covers both free allocation and auctioning. They did not impose a decrease of free allocation as such. On the contrary carbon leakage provisions should be improved in order to encourage carbon-efficient production and growth in Europe, and allocation must be guaranteed at the level of realistic benchmarks. Only predictable and effective carbon leakage measures will enable companies to invest in innovative solutions in Europe.
Accordingly there should be no direct and indirect cost at the very least at the level of most efficient European installations in sectors at risk of carbon leakage.
The effect of the cross sectoral factor (CSCF) is that even the best performers cannot achieve these levels due to economic, technical or thermo-dynamical limits. Ignoring this turns the EU ETS into a penalty system rather than an incentivising system.
For that reason, all our sectors call for a deletion of the CSCF, in accordance with the European Council conclusions of 23-24 October 20141.
Current carbon leakage assessment methodology remains valid
The carbon leakage risk will not decrease and may well increase on the contrary:
- It can currently not be expected that there will be a large breakthrough in negotiations at international level that would lead to climate policies, imposing equivalent carbon costs for industries located in competing regions.
- Meanwhile, the GHG reduction target will be increased to 43% for EU ETS sectors compared to 2005 levels (meaning that the cap will be tightened)
- The Market Stability Reserve will result in rapid carbon price increases.
All Energy Intensive Industries should receive full protection at the level of the benchmark. Consequently, the quantitative and qualitative carbon leakage risk assessment criteria and assumptions as defined in 2008 remain fully valid and must remain unchanged. Energy Intensive Industries are characterised by long investment cycles. The carbon leakage list must only be updated at the beginning of each trading period.
Also, since the risk of carbon and investment leakage remains as acute as ever for EU industry, introducing differentiation in the level of protection will lead to unequal and incomplete protection for sectors at risk, and could have negative repercussions on EU industrial value/supply chains.
Establishing technically and economically achievable benchmarks
The benchmarks should be updated maximum once, ahead of each trading period to provide planning certainty for participants, decrease the administrative burdens and provide an appropriate reward for those that have invested in emissions efficiency.
The update of the benchmark values should be based on data collection from the EU companies. The process of establishing benchmarks must be as transparent as possible. If in a sector, no relevant changes in technology have taken place, such sector can request a simplified approach for data collection.
These benchmarks have to be representative for the sectors and based on representative technologies that have been adopted by the European market. Over-ambitious benchmarks artificially increase costs to industry overall and de facto undermine the effectiveness of the carbon leakage provisions. The current rules are already very stringent, as benchmarks are set according to the average of the top 10% most efficient installations in the sector; hence, even without the cross-sectoral correction factor, around 95% of the installations have to purchase allowances.
Indirect carbon costs need to be fully compensated throughout Europe
The current implementation of carbon leakage measures to deal with indirect carbon costs has resulted in a fragmented approach as eligible sectors exposed to electricity price increases due to carbon costs may only receive from few Member States a partial financial compensation. This creates an uneven playing field in the internal EU market, and creates a disadvantage for those installations that are not receiving any, or only partial, compensation, vis-à-vis extra-EU competitors.
While designing the new system, several measures/principles should apply:
- EU-wide harmonized system, which fully off-sets indirect costs (100% of the CO2 cost-pass through in electricity prices) at the level of the most efficient installations in all Member States and reflects most recent production levels. Sectors with a fall-back approach should also be properly treated.
- Cost compensation could be assured using different complementary mechanisms (free allocation and/or harmonised financial compensation).
- Mechanisms should ensure predictability over the entire trading period by being described in the revised directive. The current system is unpredictable, as it relies on a state aid compensation assessment, and is granted annually, digressive and uncertain for future years.
- The eligibility assessment for such an EU-wide scheme should be based on a consistent methodology that identifies qualified sectors on the basis of their exposure to indirect carbon costs or their total electro-intensity.
- As indirect costs arise from the price setting mechanism prevailing in the power sector (marginal price setting), an EU-wide compensation scheme should be in place without delay.
For the longer term, the Commission should also assess the possibility of redesigning the electricity market in a way that prevents carbon cost pass through in electricity prices to sectors at risk of carbon leakage.
System based on real/recent production must replace the ex-ante straightjacket approach
Moving to an allocation methodology closely aligned with real/recent production levels would provide the required allowances at the level of the benchmark to companies expanding or restarting production to avoid undue costs, help prevent over- or under-allocation, stop rewarding ETS participants for moving production overseas and ensure simplified and fairer rules as regards new entrants, capacity increases or decreases, plant rationalisation and partial cessation. For example, the reference period could be the rolling year n-2. The required production data are already available as verifiers have to ascertain the activity data needed for the allocation. The bureaucratic burden will be therefore minimal.
For installations covered by fall-back approaches as opposed to benchmarks, emission reductions resulting from efficiency measures should not result in a penalty.
Creating a reserve for growth
To ensure sufficient availability of allowances for free allocation for industry, a reserve for growth would be needed. This reserve for growth would act as a buffer to ensure predictable access to both free allocation and auctioned allowances.
There are several ways to operate this proposed reserve for growth:
- It can be filled with unused free allowances due to lower production in phase III, back-loaded allowances, un-allocated allowances from New Entrants Reserve. Then it can provide allowances for growth in case of higher production.
- In addition, the Market Stability Reserve could also be used as the source for granting such allowances, if it would be designed as a sink for unused allowances from which allowances could be released for said purpose.
Support to innovation
The extension of innovation support to industrial projects is welcome. However, it should not happen at the detriment of carbon leakage protection by reducing or limiting the amount of free allocation. Industry exposed to carbon leakage risk will struggle to invest or innovate without predictable efficient carbon leakage protection.
The revenues from auctioning should be reinvested for low carbon technology support, as foreseen in the ETS Directive, or energy efficiency, but more importantly they should be used by Member States to stimulate economic growth and relevant R&D investments. Innovation funding under EU ETS should be allocated to energy intensive sectors appointed in Annex I of the directive. The NER400 should be technology-neutral and refer instead to R&D and deployment of new technologies for those Annex I sectors.
In order to achieve a realistic policy and to allow for effective reduction of emissions, there is a need to identify the abatement possibilities in the industry (linked to technological, thermo-dynamic and physical/chemical limits that cannot be overcome due to feedstock, process emissions and lack of break-through technologies). Some sectors have already developed 2050 decarbonisation roadmaps, in which transformation technologies are mentioned. A dedicated fund taking into consideration these abatement possibilities will bring innovative technologies (e.g. industrial breakthrough technologies, including CCS and CCU for industry) forward and secure buy-in of industry sectors.
Industry needs an objective impact assessment for Phase IV ETS
In light of the better regulation policy of the new Commission, an objective impact assessment on the different European energy intensive industries is crucial, taking into account their ability to reduce emissions (low carbon roadmaps). Any flawed impact assessment could lead to wrong policy decisions for the energy intensive industries in Europe.
1 See legal opinion on article 2.9 by Luther of April 2015
Background: On 24 October 2014, the European Council agreed on the 2030 framework for climate and energy, including a binding domestic target for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of at least 40% in 2030 as compared to 1990. To meet this target, the European Council agreed that the emissions in the EU Emission Trading System should be reduced, compared to 2005, by 43%. A reformed EU ETS remains the main instrument to achieve the emission reduction target. The cap will decline based on an annual linear reduction factor of 2.2% (instead of the current 1.74%) from 2021 onwards, to achieve the necessary emission reductions in the EU ETS. The European Council furthermore gave strategic guidance on several issues regarding the implementation of the emission reduction target, namely free allocation to industry, the establishment of a modernisation and an innovation fund, optional free allocation of allowances to modernise electricity generation in some Member States.
The strategic guidance given by European leaders on these elements will be translated into a legislative proposal to revise the EU ETS for the period post-2020. This constitutes an important part of the work on the achievement of a resilient Energy Union with a forward looking climate change policy, which has been identified as a key policy area in President Juncker's political guidelines for the new Commission.
The purpose of this stakeholder consultation was to gather stakeholders' views on these elements.
CEPI's Key messages :
- The ETS in general, and the benchmarks in particular, should reward installations and sectors reducing GHG emissions, without penalising early movers, new investment made, and low-carbon economic growth. Fiscal and legislative stability and predictability are needed to enable investments in low-carbon technologies.
- The pulp and paper industry cannot pass through carbon costs to its customers: the global market of export goods sets prices, not the production costs of the European industry. This can be easily verified by the lack of correlation between carbon prices and final product prices.
- For “direct carbon costs”, free allocation is a necessary condition but not sufficient to avoid carbon leakage: support mechanisms should be set up to help the EU industry improve its energy efficiency and reduce its GHG emissions.
- Concerning “indirect carbon costs”, it would be better for a mandatory and harmonised EU-wide compensation scheme to address the impact of rising electricity costs due to ETS in all Member States. Financing of compensation schemes should include also, but not be limited to, auctioning revenues from ETS.
- Support for innovation in industry should not come at the expenses of carbon leakage protection: funding for innovation will have to come on top of free allowances for industry. It should be directed to directly finance large-scale demo and pilot projects, as well projects close to commercialisation stage (TRL 6-8). These are high risk, high capital investments where the private sector would not be able to deliver without the backing of public financing.
- The role that European industry plays in the circular economy and in the bioeconomy is of strategic importance for Europe’s access to raw materials and reducing Europe’s carbon footprint. This should be acknowledged when reviewing the EU ETS, by addressing the ETS impact on prices and availability of raw material, such as wood.