SBB 30 November The UK chancellor of the exchequer (finance minister), George Osborne, yesterday announced a £250m (€293m) package to compensate the country’s energy-intensive industries, including the steel industry, for higher energy prices relating to carbon dioxide emissions regulations. The move is a “step in the right direction,” Karl-Ulrich Köhler, Tata Steel’s managing director and chief executive in Europe, tells Steel business Briefing.
Although the exact details are not yet available, this “should probably be adequate for steel producers,” Jeremy Nicholson, director of industry lobby the Energy Intensive Users Group, tells SBB. The steel industry could receive somewhere in the region of £30m per year in compensation, the group believes.
Indirect compensation for the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) can be carried out in accordance with EU guidance, which is currently being drafted. The ETS forces industrial units to account for their carbon dioxide emissions using carbon credits, which can be bought on the market.
Compensation for the UK’s Carbon Price Floor (CPF) is likely to require approval from the European Commission under state aid regulations. “So it is not yet clear whether 100% or some lesser amount of the CPF impact on electricity prices will actually be compensated for by the time the measure receives approval (assuming it does),” Nicholson points out.
“Some of the most crucial detail remains unclear and this relief could be short-lived,” Köhler warns. He also welcomed a number of other measures announced in the chancellor’s report.