Energy and Climate Change

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energy and climate change
22 Sep.2016 ,

Hydrophobic Deep Eutectic Solvents promise to play key role in making paper industry more sustainable

PhD research carried out as part of the PROVIDES project has recently resulted in promising new sustainable hydrophobic Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs). These hydrophobic DESs could successfully replace chemical solvents in the paper recycling process in order to remove transition metal ions such as iron and manganese from paper pulp.

Coordinated by ISPT, the industry-driven PROVIDES project focuses on developing environmentally friendly alternatives to chemical solvents in the European pulp and paper industry. It is financially supported by 20 industrial partners.

Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) are nature-based, renewable, biodegradable, low-volatile and cost-effective. When used for producing high-quality cellulose fibers in paper-making applications, they are extremely energy efficient, particularly because they do not require high temperatures. They offer a groundbreaking new method for the pulping of many different lignocellulosic materials for producing chemical pulp, pure lignin and other chemicals.

Read the full press release by ISPT here

DES was the winning project of the Two Team Project, a CEPI project thanks to which the industry identified eight breakthrough technologies that would help decarbonise papermaking. Read more about it here.

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15 Sep.2016 ,

CEPI joins demand-side flexibility platform

CEPI has joined I.D.E.A.S., a European informal multi-stakeholder platform for advocates of demand-side flexibility. I.D.E.A.S stands for:
• Improve energy efficiency
• Develop new business models
• Empower consumers
• Address security of supply and competitiveness
• Support a cost-efficient integration of renewable energy sources

The aim of the platform is to contribute to the development and implementation of European policies and initiatives to drive the deployment of flexible demand side resources in support of EU’s goals in energy and climate, security of supply and competitiveness.

The platform consists of the following European industry associations and civil society organisations:

  • European Building Automation Controls Association
  • CECED
  • CEPI
  • COGEN Europe
  • E3G
  • ECOS
  • ESMIG
  • EDSO for smart grids
  • European Climate Foundation
  • European Copper Institute
  • Smart Energy Demand Coalition
  • BNE
  • Orgalime
  • CAPIEL
  • European Heat Pump Association
  • Solar Power Europe
  • RAP
  • IFIEC Europe
  • EREF - European Renewable Energies Federation
  • Wind Europe

We are looking forward to sharing intelligence and expertise and exchanging on possible common actions.
 

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13 Jun.2016 ,

Post 2020 ETS reform

Statement in view of the Environment Council on 20 June 2016

As a market-based system, emissions trading has the best potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the lowest-cost way, and to create a market signal to drive low-carbon investment. The undersigned associations support the principles of the EU ETS as the cornerstone mechanism to deliver cost-efficient emission reductions in the EU while at the same time securing a global level playing field for industry.

But, for this to be achievable, we need to ensure that the EU ETS works for every covered sector. We must make sure that the energy-intensive, carbon-intensive and/or trade-exposed industries, operating in a highly competitive global market get the right kind of support to enable them to continue to reduce emissions within the EU. For the power sector, which needs significant levels of investment to secure and decarbonise the electricity supply, we must ensure a carbon price that provides a meaningful signal towards the sector’s low carbon investment decisions today and tomorrow.

The post 2020 ETS reform must focus on achieving long-lasting, holistic and effective changes to the system in order to instil confidence in the market. An essential element of the reform is to provide long-term predictability and legal stability to industry and investors, and to avoid the quick-fixes and piecemeal approach we have seen in the recent past.

In this respect, the European Commission’s proposal to set, in the ETS Directive itself, the ratio between the shares of allowances for auctioning and those for free allocation is an element of certainty. However, the rules should ensure the right balance between ensuring liquidity with regard to the available auctioning volumes and providing the necessary volume of free allowances on the level of best performers in order to avoid carbon and investment leakage.

The undersigned associations are committed to make the reform of the EU ETS a success. But it must be a success for all the covered sectors. As representatives of major industrial sectors, we will remain firm on this point as this will be essential to develop and strengthen the industrial value chain across Europe as well as European industry’s international competitiveness.
 

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31 May.2016 ,

The day Aristotle said: “The Tiered Approach doesn’t work”

This article appeared in the Parliament Magazine issue no 435, 30 May 2016

Aristotle often used the reduction ad absurdum to show the untenable consequences one would ensue from accepting the item at issue. If he was alive and would hear about the Tiered Approach in the ETS review, we would probably have engaged in the following dialogue:

Aristotle: What is the purpose of proposing a Tiered Approach?
N.Rega: To avoid the so-called cross-sectoral correction factor (CSCF) – a uniformed cut in free credits allocated to each industrial installation, should the total demand excess the total availability of free credits.

How would a Tiered Approach work? Sectors are clustered in different groups, and receive a different level of free credits. How would sectors be clustered?
On the basis of the different degree of the sectors’ exposure to the risk of carbon leakage, whereby industrial production would relocate outside the EU due to climate policies.

And how could different exposure levels to such risk be evaluated?
For every sector we should assess the impact of carbon pricing in and outside the EU, the carbon intensity of EU and non-EU production, specific trade patterns, products’ price elasticity, and so-forth.

Have any of these analyses been used in the proposed tiered approach?
Not really. Sectors have not been compared with their respective non-EU sectors. Instead, they have just been all lined up and assumed that the higher a sector strikes in terms of combined carbon and trade intensity, the higher it is exposed.

This is counter-intuitive: when a sector reduces its carbon intensity, shouldn’t it increase its exposure to the risk of carbon leakage?
Indeed, as relocation outside the EU in countries with less stringent carbon constraints would then increase global carbon emissions.

So far, the methodology behind the Tiered Approach doesn’t look very sound-based.
Indeed, one could argue that it is rather arbitrary and discriminatory.

Could it be legally challenged?
In case of rigid boundaries in defining the carbon leakage groups, companies not receiving the highest level of free credits will most likely go to court.

Would these companies have a chance to win?
Most likely, given the flawed methodology being used.

What would happen then?
Sectors would retroactively receive additional free credits at the highest level.

So, the risk of triggering the CSCF won’t be avoided.
Indeed.

And what if the boundaries were not be rigid but rather flexible?
In this case, sectors initially allocated in some clusters would still be allowed to prove their higher need for protection, via the so-called qualitative assessment.

But if sectors will be granted additional free credits, where would these come from?
Like in past cases, the Commission would have to take a relevant amount of free credits upfront and park them aside, in case all sectors would apply and receive full protection.

Does it mean that sectors will be deemed to receive 100% free credits?
Yes, as allowances potentially needed would not be allocated.

So, also in this case, the risk of triggering the CSCF won’t be reduced.
Indeed. Additionally, a generalised use of the qualitative assessment would exponentially increase both the administrative burden and the lack of transparency in the decision-making process.

Thanks to Aristotle, we have come to a straight-forward conclusion: the Tiered Approach defeats its original purpose, namely to reduce the risk of triggering the CSCF. With additional drawbacks impacting the stability, predictability and transparency of regulatory framework.

A better way to cost-effectively reduce industry’s demand for free credits is to focus instead on developing rules to stimulate and reward investments in low-carbon technologies. In this respect, tiering does neither. Something that even Aristotle would agree upon.
 

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23 May.2016 ,

Strong industry concerns on the ITRE Draft Opinion on the EU-ETS Reform post-2020 and other thought experiments putting industries at risk of carbon leakage

Tiering is not the solution

The undersigned energy-intensive industries express their strong concerns regarding the proposal to introduce “tiered approaches” to carbon leakage protection, as introduced in the ITRE Draft Opinion.

According to all forecasts, “tiering” is not needed.

All forecasts, including the Commission’s Impact Assessment, predict that a shortage of free allowances is highly unlikely during phase IV of the ETS. A shortage can be as good as excluded if the proposed share of allowances to be auctioned were properly calculated. Those 700 million ‘unused’ allowances of phase III (that were earmarked for free allocation but remained unallocated due to business closures or a lack of new entrants) should remain available and within reach if needed for production, recovery and growth during 2021-2030. Thus, the ETS reform can deliver the agreed emission reductions cost-effectively, encourage best performance through safeguarding full and effective carbon leakage protection to the benchmark level. There is no need for exposing parts of EU industry to undue carbon costs.

The ITRE Draft Opinion proposes to expose a lot of industrial sectors to the risk of carbon leakage.

Burdening companies with undue carbon costs by cutting free allocation would divert resources from modernising and upgrading industrial infrastructure, thus exacerbating the risk of investment leakage to countries with less stringent climate policies. This does not send a positive signal to European
industry to accompany its decarbonisation investments and undermines our faith in, and support for, the ETS as a cost-effective means of reducing carbon emissions.

“Tiering” is based on theoretical assumptions and distorts the internal market

The proposed tiering has no environmental or economic justification and is based on flawed assumptions (“cost pass-through”) of unpredictable market dynamics. It reserves free allowances for some sectors at the expense of others. It goes against the principle set in the October European Council Conclusions that best performing companies in ETS carbon leakage sectors should not bear further carbon costs. Indeed, tiering would ensure that even best performers in most sectors would bear significant carbon costs and expose them to carbon and investment leakage.
Statistical indicators vary - sometimes greatly - with time and depend on many factors (market conditions, company structures, exposure to international trade, etc.). Hence, the setting of thresholds would be arbitrary and would risk not reflecting future needs and leakage risks of the sectors.


As a result, we call on the Members of the ITRE Committee to react strongly to the Draft Opinion, so that the ETS reform delivers full and effective carbon leakage protection without the need for arbitrary discrimination. Jobs in one sector are neither more nor less important than those in other sectors.


We call for an approach based on realistic benchmarks, allocation based on more recent production data and an adequate reserve that ensures full allocation to benchmark levels. Fairness and solidity should become key principles of policy making. We ask you to create a framework that gives all sectors an equal opportunity to compete and thrive in Europe, and not to pick certain sectors to stay in Europe.

 

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