- Eurometaux has written to the EU pointing at the high electricity prices bringing down industrial production of non-ferrous metals in the region
- Existing production of material as aluminum, zinc and silicon is being curtailed at source which would impact clean energy value chains, including for solar
- Europe would need to import these materials, at the cost of local industries, leading to further expenses and higher carbon footprint
- The association wants the EU to support the industry through state aid and competitively priced, carbon free electricity supply
‘Unsustainably’ high European electricity prices are forcing the local non-ferrous metals industry to curtail production, impacting supply to clean energy value chains including for solar, thereby endangering Green Deal ambitions, according to industry association Eurometaux.
Importing the same from outside of Europe not only is an expensive proposition, but also leads to higher carbon footprint, something the European Union’s Green Deal has been framed to avoid. Under the Green Deal, the EU aims to become the 1st climate neutral ‘continent’ by 2050 and reduce its emissions by at least 55% by 2030 from 1990.
Sounding the ‘alarm’, Eurometaux complains that owing to current high electricity prices, more than half of the EU’s aluminum and zinc smelters are either operating at a reduced capacity or have shut down temporarily while silicon output has also reduced significantly. Silicon acts as a semiconductor material for solar cells and is used in well over 90% of the world’s module supply.
The industry wants the EU Commission (EC) to ensure it has access to competitively priced and a sustainable supply of electricity if the region wants to prevent deindustrialization in strategic industries.
“The EU’s Industrial Strategy recognizes that the Green Deal will require metals in higher volumes to supply clean energy value chains such as batteries, electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels, and grid infrastructure,” states Eurometaux letter to the European Commission. “Europe must not only retain its existing metals supply base to meet this demand in a sustainable way, but also create positive business conditions for investments into extra refining capacity for energy transition metals.”
Pointing at regulated tariffs set by local governments elsewhere protecting industries or favorable power purchase agreements (PPA), the association complains that the local non-ferrous metals industry has been worst hit by the electricity price crisis and the situation will worsen if no steps are taken.
Eurometaux demands the EC allows EU member states to support national industries with an emergency state aid framework, as well as also bring in schemes supporting corporate power purchase agreement to source carbon free electricity for energy intensive industries.
“Any phase-out of traditional power sources must be preceded by the deployment of new dispatchable generation in order to ensure a smooth transition and avoid power shortages and volatile prices,” reads the letter.