EU Commission raises carbon benchmarks for steelmakers


New proposals for CO2 benchmarks for the steel industry have been released by the European Commission. EU-27 steel producers will receive free allowances for CO2 emissions from that stage of steel-making up to the benchmark figure. This approach is designed to encourage all producers to reach the benchmark/best level.

It should be noted that as the benchmark reflects the performance of the average of the top 10% in each class in 2008, only around 5% of installations will currently achieve that target. For others it will remain a goal.

SBB 27 October 2010 The European Commission (EC) has released new higher draft benchmarks for greenhouse gas emissions in the region’s steel industry. Earlier leaked proposals were criticised by the industry as too low.

In the new proposals, for example, the per tonne hot metal benchmark was increased by 24.7% to 1.328 tonnes CO2. This was mainly as the industry’s total carbon allocations for waste gases used to generate electricity were revised, an EC source tells Steel Business Briefing.

Eurofer argues that 100% of carbon in the waste gases used to generate electricity should be returned to the steelmaker as carbon credits. The EC had set the level at approximately 75%, equivalent to the carbon value of the natural gas needed to produce the same amount of electricity. This figure has been increased to 85% to promote the use of waste gases for electricity generation, a Commission source tells SBB.

The benchmarks decide how many free carbon credits steelmakers will receive under the Emissions Trading System in 2013-2020. Each production sub-sector has a benchmark, which is the average emissions of the 10% most carbon-efficient facilities. The Commission tells SBB that its earlier lower estimates were also revised upwards with new data.

Nevertheless, Eurofer is not satisfied. “The best performers in the industry should not suffer any significant additional costs”, Axel Eggert, the Eurofer spokesman tells SBB. Furthermore, the benchmarks for coking and sintering are also high; they should be 0.333 and 0.191 t CO2/t product respectively, Eggert said.

The proposals will now be assessed by EU member states and voted on by the Climate Commission by the year-end. In the spring the proposal will be put to the European Parliament which can approve or reject, but not amend, the proposal.

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