We support the EU’s climate neutrality objective. Higher ambitions spur the demand for aluminium, which delivers energy and CO2 savings in leading sectors, including mobility and transport, packaging, consumer goods, and building and construction. Its endless recyclability further contributes to decarbonisation. However, there is no climate rationale to increase the 2030 targets if carbon leakage cannot be stopped. Our sector is exposed to international trade and faces higher energy costs compared to other global producers. For this reason, increasing the current GHG emission reduction target should be done only with a new climate and energy policy design that explicitly recognises EU carbon leakage and sets up an enabling framework to protect our aluminium industry in Europe.
Stepping up Europe’s 2030 climate ambitions
- Our position paper on the leaked Taxonomy Delegated Act on climate change objectives shared with Member States Expert Group
- Our comments on the Draft Delegated Regulation on Climate mitigation & adaptation Technical Screening criteria (December 2020)
- Our policy recommendations on the EU’s plans to increase its climate ambition (June 2020)
- Our position on the EU Strategies on Energy Sector Integration and Hydrogen (June 2020)
- Our reaction to the climate mitigation criteria for the EU Taxonomy Regulation [March 2020]
- European Aluminium's Vision 2050
EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism
The Union’s commitment to stop carbon leakage and address this issue with new tools such as a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) is commendable. The complexities stemming from aluminium’s trade and electricity-intensive nature make our value chain one of the most exposed to carbon leakage. However, these same complexities raise many complications regarding how a CBAM could be designed to protect our value chain fully. A CBAM for aluminium will thus not effectively reduce our sector’s global emissions and protect us against carbon and investment leakage. Adequate ETS indirect costs compensation schemes and free allowances would still be the optimal way. In view of the EU’s increased climate ambition, the Union should further investigate complementary measures to a CBAM, in close consultation with all concerned stakeholders and industry.
Emissions Trading System Reform
The reform of the European Emission Trading System (ETS) is one of the cornerstones of the European climate policy and, if well implemented, one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce carbon emissions. The implementation of the ETS Reform (Phase IV) and revision of the rules in June 2021 will be vital in letting us deliver the targets agreed during the Paris COP21 Climate Change Conference and the EU’s increased ambition for 2030. Our association is now monitoring and supporting the European Commission with technical know-how to implement important elements of the adopted proposal, including new (updated) benchmarks and the possibility to increase production via creeping projects.
State Aid rules for ETS indirect carbon costs
Following the adoption of the ETS Phase IV, the indirect carbon cost compensation regime may change as soon as the State Aid Guidelines are updated. Our association represents one of the most electro-intensive industrial sectors (that’s why we are part of the current list of eligible sectors) and the role of our industry is strategic for the entire economy. While multiple studies and reports have clearly confirmed the risk of carbon leakage, we are providing all the necessary data and evidence to ensure that our sector will get adequate and predictable support for the next decade (2021-2030).
Review EU State Aid Guidelines for Environmental protection and Energy post 2020 (EEAG)
The EEAG currently in force and expiring towards the end of 2022 acknowledge electro-intensity and exposure to international trade as key criteria for granting aid. In particular, the possibility for targeted RES charge reductions has played a vital role in limiting carbon leakage for our sector, given that aluminium smelters are particularly sensitive to any increase in the cost of electricity. The European Commission is now reviewing the existing framework in light of the European Green Deal and higher climate ambitions for 2030 and 2050. It will thus be crucial to improve the Guidelines to reflect the latest EU regulatory and policy developments stemming from the low carbon transition affecting the competitiveness of our sector, ranging from EU energy, climate, and environmental legislation to global trade, competition law, and innovation developments over the last decade.
Electricity is aluminium’s lifeblood. Because there is no energy alternative for the sector to electricity, the aluminium industry is a front runner on energy efficiency. The European Aluminium industry is showing steady improvement since the 1950s and electricity consumption has fallen by more than a third over that period. Europe’s intention to further revise the electricity market design can play a major role to improve the conditions for our competitiveness and long term investments.
Clean Energy Package: our position recommendations
European Aluminium welcomes the principles and political aspirations embedded into the legislative proposals “Clean energy for all Europeans”, adopted in 2016 by the Commission.
We fully understand the importance of defining legislative frameworks to empower energy consumers, integrate electricity markets and manage the penetration of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) into the European grids. Our industry is proactively contributing to such goals through our product applications, infinite recyclability and the stabilisation of the grid through demand-response mechanisms. While the last trilogues are taking place, we expect all institutions to find a solid compromise to secure the competitiveness and sustainable production of aluminium in Europe.
Decarbonisation of transport
Aluminium has a great role to play in decarbonisation of transport. Light weighting is driving emissions reductions from road transport. To guarantee this transition to a low carbon economy, technology neutral CO2 regulations for vehicles are critical as they will allow to take full benefit of light weighting into account.
The aluminium industry is constantly searching new ways to use energy more effectively. The industry is committed to maximise the energy-saving potential of aluminium products but also to increase recycling through improved aluminium collection as well as streamline energy use through the entire production value chain. Our Sustainability Roadmap 2025 has defined a clear target to reduce industrial energy consumption by 10%, per tonne of aluminium produced or transformed in Europe.
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) promotes the improvement of the energy performance of buildings within the Union. It requires Members States to apply a methodology for calculating the energy performance of buildings and to set minimum performance requirements for new buildings, buildings undergoing major renovations and for building elements. The EPBD has been amended in June 2018 and requires Member States to establish long-term renovation strategies.
European Aluminium insists on the application of the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle to secure that minimizing building’s energy consumption is always pursued, even when the energy is supplied from renewables, which are too valuable to be wasted.
When Member States set minimum performance requirements for transparent building elements like windows, European Aluminium recommends using the ‘energy balance’ methodology that considers both insulation AND solar heat gains to assess their thermal performance.
Watch this video to understand windows characteristics that matter for thermal performance.