(07/10/2020 / sbr)

Energy system integration could be one of the solutions for deep decarbonization of European industrial ecosystems

On Wednesday, the European Commission published its Energy System Integration Strategy aimed at making the energy system more “circular” as a whole - across multiple energy carriers, infrastructures, and consumption sectors - with energy efficiency at its core.

Being the voice of the European Paper Industries, Cepi agrees that energy system integration is the pathway to an effective, affordable and deep decarbonisation of the European economy:

“Our sector is already acting as a hub for smart sector integration. Moving forward towards a climate-neutral society, our sector has more to offer, and to gain, from a more integrated energy system”, said Jori Ringman, Cepi Director General.

The concrete actions proposed by the strategy in order to build a climate-neutral energy system are highly interesting and relevant for the Confederation of European Paper Industries (Cepi), in particular:

  • increased emphasis on demand side flexibility, Combined Heat and Power (CHP)  and the role of industrial thermal storage;
  • support for biogas production;
  • financing for electrification in industry and for synthetic fuels using CO2 captured  from biomass;
  • capacity building for rural circular energy communities.

Our industry is already massively using CHP and actively engaged with local communities in maximising resource efficiency.

The European paper industry is already fully committed to a climate neutral Europe by 2050, as reflected in our CEO initiative published last November. We have achieved a 48% reduction of carbon emission from 1990 to date. We are the largest industrial renewable energy prosumer and are often at the core of rural circular energy communities. We also welcome the Commission vision to make hydrogen become a cost-competitive solution to replace natural gas in energy for industry.

Because deeper collaboration between industries and sectors will be the answer to the climate neutrality challenge, Cepi recently joined A.SPIRE, the European Association representing innovative and sustainable process industries. For the first time A.SPIRE actively works on the bio-economy and on strengthening its know-how on the circular economy; both areas which are essential for our industry and to make sector integration a success.

Before joining A.SPIRE, Cepi has been engaging in the research and innovation community by founding the Bio-based Private-Public partnership (BBI JU) and the Forest-based sector Technology Platform (FTP). In 2020, we also started collaborating with many actors across the energy value-chain, like suppliers, network operators and service companies via the Cepi Energy Solutions Forum. Through these discussions, our industry wishes to identify new solutions to optimise and de-fossilise the energy use in its processes.

Cepi now looks forward to working with these different networks, ranging from the process industries to the energy providers, in the broader context of an EU-supported sector integration, so that the European paper industry can continue leading on the industrial transformation, coupling economic growth in Europe with reduction of carbon emissions, not only in our sector, but across the whole society.