The glass industry is one of the most energy intensive industries in Germany. As such, it is subject to energy and climate policy regulations. These affect the glass industry’s production operations and competitiveness. Since 1970, it has reduced its energy consumption levels by 77 percent, which is close to the maximum energy efficiency that is technically feasible in glass production.
This is one of the reasons why it is dependent on well-considered policy decisions that take the glass industry’s specific circumstances into account. The glass industry will only be able to continue manufacturing in Germany in the long term if it can plan ahead.
In October 2014, the European Commission adopted the second Carbon Leakage List. The flat glass, hollow glass, glass fibre, and special glass segments were included in this list, and will continue to receive free emissions trading certificates in the trading period ending 2020. However, the number of issued certificates is geared to ambitious benchmarks. As a result, only around five percent of installations in Europe will receive enough certificates to cover their requirements. A cross-sector factor further reduces the number of certificates that are issued. Even the world’s best installations may be allocated fewer certificates than they need in order to meet the technical and physical requirements associated with their production operations. While energy suppliers can pass on the costs for emissions trading certificates to their customers, the glass industry cannot. Without the allocation of free certificates, the European glass industry would be severely disadvantaged over global competitors.
The Carbon Leakage List will be reviewed again ahead of the fourth emissions trading period. According to the proposal put forward by the EU Commission for a reform of the emissions trading system from 2021, the glass industry sectors would retain their carbon leakage status. It is difficult to predict the volume of certificates that will ultimately be allocated free of charge. This will depend, among other things, on the production developments throughout the entire European industry, and the updating of production benchmarks. The total volume of available certificates will fall after 2021 not by 1.74% per year, as is currently the case, but by 2.2%. In particular, the indirect costs that have to be borne by the glass industry following the rise in electricity prices, brought about by the emissions trading system, will increase sharply in the fourth trading period.
At the end of 2014, Glass Alliance Europe (GAE) placed emissions trading right at the top of its agenda, leading to the establishment of a public affairs committee and a strategy task force. BV Glas is represented on both committees, and brings its expertise to bear at European level.
In 2014, the German government established an energy efficiency network initiative. BV Glas and many other trade associations joined it. Both the industrial sector and the German government are aware that energy efficiency is not just crucial to the future competitiveness of German industry – it also plays a central role in climate protection. To summarize, the initiative is a joint approach to significantly reducing emissions in Germany. The glass industry has been committed to energy efficiency for many years now. Energy management systems that comply with ISO 50001 have long been a standard practice at glass manufacturing companies. As a result, they already meet the requirements of energy efficiency networks: the identification of a potential for savings, the specification of savings targets, and the definition of a network objective based on the individual savings targets. Despite this, it still makes sense for the glass industry to establish energy efficiency networks. Although most companies have more or less maximised their energy efficiency, establishing energy efficiency networks enables the glass industry to document its excellent achievements in this area and helps to identify a further potential for saving energy that was previously unknown.
The first three energy efficiency networks have already been established, with additional networks will follow.
Click here to be redirected to the Energy Efficiency Network Initiative.