As an energy-intensive sector, the German cement industry is particular dependent on competitive and stable framework conditions in energy policy. With energy costs representing more than 50 per cent of the gross value added, the manufacture of cement is one of the most fuel and power-intensive production processes in the manufacturing industry. However, alongside competitiveness of energy supply, security of supply is also very important.
All together, the 55 German cement works consume around 3.5 terrawatt hours of electricity per year; each tonne of cement requires approximately 110 kilowatt hours. Across the industry, this corresponds to annual electricity costs of around 250 million euros, or around 25 per cent of the gross added value. If fuel costs are also included, this share of total energy costs increases to a massive 50 per cent of the gross added value.
The production factor energy is thus one of the industry’s greatest cost drivers. Cement producers have therefore always been highly interested in improving energy efficiency. Measures have already been taken in the past to successively establish a healthy balance between energy intensity and energy efficiency, consistently implement incentives to sustainably increase energy efficiency, and substantially reduce CO2 emissions.
In light of this, current energy and climate policy developments are very important for the sector. This particularly applies to state-controlled electricity cost components – primarily EEG apportionment. With the reform of the German renewable energies act (EEG) in 2014, the "special compensation regulation" already in place for power-intensive companies was brought into harmony with the applicable EU stipulations for state aid. German cement manufacturers will continue to only be faced with reduced EEG apportionment in future. If this regulation were lost, production and jobs in Germany would be at enormous risk. In this context, agreement between the German government and the EU Commission regarding the EEG state aid procedure represents an important step in maintaining local cement production.
In terms of energy and electricity tax, which also make up a significant part of the energy costs, a follow-up regulation was agreed in 2012 to continue the concept of "Spitzenausgleich". In return for energy tax relief, German industry has – in place of the previous climate protection agreement – committed to introducing certified energy management systems and a collective annual reduction in specific energy consumption of 1.3 per cent from 2013 and 1.35 per cent between 2016 and 2020. The details of this self-obligation are set out in the agreement on increasing energy efficiency ("Vereinbarung zur Steigerung der Energieeffizienz") of 1 August 2012.