The gas consuming industry requests exemption from payment to the renewable fund

To be exempted and not have to pay their part of the Fund for the Sustainability of the Electricity System (FNSSE) This is the request shared in the allegations that companies that use gas as a source of energy in their industrial processes have only presented a few days to the preliminary bill that the Government announced last December.

Several of the main industrial organizations agree on this point in the writings sent to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge. The general director of the iron and steel employers’ association (Unesid), Andrés Barceló, directly asks that “we be exempted, not that there be compensation.” Juan Antonio Labat, general director of the Business Federation of the Spanish Chemical Industry (Feique), also requests that “industries that use gas be excluded”.

The two associations of cogeneration in Spain, Acogen and Cogen, have submitted a joint letter in which, among other issues, they demand “to improve the exclusion mechanisms provided for gas consuming industries”, report both entities.

Ministry sources affirm that “we are currently enriching the text with the contributions received.” The new version will then be taken to the Council of Ministers to be sent to the Cortes as a bill.

Feique estimates a cost of 218 million. Aspapel predicts that 7,000 jobs will stop being created

The goal is to reduce the impact that the fund payment may have on your accounts. The gas sector will have to cope with 24.8% of it, a total of 1.7 billion euros.

Feique calculates this impact at 218 million euros, which “represents a 21% increase in our costs,” says Labat. Sources from the Spanish Association of Ceramic Tile and Floor Manufacturers (Ascer) estimates it at 182 million and foresees the destruction of the 60,000 jobs that depend on it.

The energy director of the Spanish Association of Pulp, Paper and Cardboard Manufacturers (Aspapel), Isaac del Moral, estimates it at 100 million and predicts that about 7,000 jobs will no longer be created.

Del Moral warns of the loss of competitiveness and the “silent relocation” that is going to occur. This will result in the “disappearance of investments by some multinationals that will take them elsewhere.”

Steel installation in Avilés.

Positive effect

The associate director at Nera Economic Consulting, Jorge Sanz, does not believe that the fund negatively affects the international competitiveness of Spanish companies “for the simple reason that the draft law states that these companies will be exempted from having to contribute” to it. . Those who compete in Spain will not be harmed either, since “all will be affected to the same extent,” he recalls.

Expert Jorge Sanz defends his positive footprint on GDP and encourages companies to use more electricity

Sanz is convinced that “the aggregate effect of the fund on GDP and employment will be positive, thanks to the fact that the cost of electricity will be reduced for all companies”, without forgetting that it also benefits households with lower income.

The former president of the commission of experts for the energy transition recommends that these companies “modify their production processes to consume electricity instead of hydrocarbons, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Some employers argue that today there is no alternative for the use of gas in certain processes and that this change in technology will not come in less than five years.

Pending the new taxation

Unesid Zaragoza
Unesid plant in Zaragoza.

Reform. The renewal of energy taxation continues to be a major issue that has yet to be tackled in this transition process towards decarbonization.

Proposal. Jorge Sanz considers that “the current tax has no environmental basis whatsoever, it only responds to the collection needs of the public Treasury, penalizes electricity consumption and implicitly subsidizes fossil fuel consumption.” His proposal is in line with that already proposed in 2018 by the commission of energy transition experts: to replace current taxation “with taxes levied on each energy product in proportion to its emissions of polluting gases (CO2, SO2 and nox) and solid particles into the atmosphere ”.

Restrictions. Antonio Hernández, partner in charge of regulated sectors at the EY consulting firm, argues that the reform “should have a dual purpose: to contribute to the energy transition and the decarbonization of our economy and the improvement of air quality, especially in urban centers”, responding to the principle of “who pollutes, pays”. Hernández adds five restrictions to promote it: “Avoid the loss of competitiveness of our industry vis-à-vis other markets, protect the most vulnerable users, respect the financial sustainability of the energy system, not negatively affect public budgets and ensure the maintenance of the market unit ”.

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