The Council of Ministers has approved the royal decree of the statute of electro-intensive consumers, a measure that will benefit 612 companies with high electricity consumption, lowering their electricity bill and thus increasing their competitiveness, and which had been pending approval since April 2019 .
The Government then decided to review the draft statute, after the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) warned that the mechanisms it included could constitute State aid incompatible with European legislation.
According to Industry, the approved Statute provides large electricity consumers with a legal and economic framework that provides security and certainty to their energy costs and improves their international competitiveness (by reducing the differential in the price they pay for electricity with respect to competitors of other countries such as France or Germany), "all in accordance with community regulations".
"It is an instrument of industrial policy with which the Government improves the competitiveness of large industry and favors investment" by providing companies, for the first time, with a regulatory framework that recognizes the condition of large consumer and makes available to them to new instruments that offer greater stability, security and certainty of the price of energy, according to the minister of the branch, Reyes Maroto.
In total, it will benefit 612 companies with more than 60 industrial activities, totaling some 300,000 workers, and, together with compensation for costs of indirect CO2 emissions (carbon dioxide) and the Spanish Reserve Fund for Guarantees of Electrointensive Entities, "It will mean a new legal framework at the service of large industry."
Maintain the activity for three years
To qualify for the aid provided for in the Statute, companies must assume obligations and commitments in energy efficiency, R & D & i and substitution of polluting sources, while they must maintain productive activity for a period of at least three years, starting of the date of granting of the aid.
To obtain the condition of electrointensive consumer, the annual consumption must have been greater than 1 gigawatt hour (GWh) during two of the three previous years and the consumption in the off-peak hours (the cheapest of the day) represent, at least, 50 % of the total.
The Ministry of Industry will be in charge of certifying the condition of electrointensive consumer, which must be requested by the company, the department has informed in a statement.
Compensation of up to 85% of charges
Among the mechanisms for energy costs, there is the compensation of up to 85% of the costs that are passed on to the price of electricity by financing the premiums for renewables, the costs of high-efficiency cogeneration and the extra cost corresponding to non-peninsular territories (financed 50% from the receipt and the State Budgets)
In addition, the State, through the Spanish Reserve Fund for Guarantees of Electrointensive Entities (FERGEI), will cover the risks derived from the acquisition of electricity in the medium and long term from electrointensive consumers, in order to promote contracting long-term bilateral (PPA) supply.
In February of this year, before the pandemic broke out, the Electrointensive Statute was announced, which, as reported by the Government at the time, would allow savings of 90 million for these companies only by reducing the charges of 85% on their bill.
Added to the compensations for CO2 costs (172 million last year), the support for the electrointensive industry would exceed 262 million.
From Aspapel (Spanish Association of Manufacturers of Pulp, Paper and Cardboard) they support and applaud the approval of the statute, "which should be a turning point and a first instrument of support for Spanish industry after the serious deterioration of our economy caused by the Covid-19. The figure of the electrointensive consumer will be decisive in the distribution of European reconstruction funds, which are announced aimed at a series of industrial ecosystems and among them that of energy-intensive industries. "
Pending analyzing the finally approved text, Aspapel considers that the compensations included in the statute "are not the definitive solution for the exporting industry, since the price differential with European competitors persists; but they represent at least a starting point and a turning point in supporting the industry. "