Industrial consumers

Stakeholder role in grid projects: 

Industry is a key electricity consumer in the EU. Indeed, in 2010, according to the EEA, the industrial sector was the single largest electricity consumer, accounting for 36.5% of total final consumption, with households and services following at about 30%.

Industrial consumers are therefore quite sensitive both to reliable supply of electricity and to fluctuations in electricity prices. The extension of grid lines can impact both aspects since they can make energy transmission more efficient and reliable. Grid extension projects are hence of great importance especially to Industrial consumers located far away from the main centres of power production since electrical power needs to be transmitted crossing a long distance to reach them.  While Industrial consumers are not likely to be one of the key stakeholders involved in a specific grid project at a community level, they may be involved in discussions on EU or national energy planning decisions, which will then impact implementation at the local level. Nonetheless, should an Industrial consumer be present in a region affected by a project, it may help drive public opinion for or against the project, depending on whether the project fits into an overall grid plan which the industry supports.

 

Primary concern with grid projects: 
Usual patterns: 

As private sector companies, Industrial consumers are primarily interested in the economic profitability of their business models. Hence, boosting productivity, as well as reducing operating costs while maintaining quality of production, are key concerns for them.

As energy prices represent a substantial proportion of production costs for many energy-intensive industries, they play a key role in determining industrial competitiveness. More specifically, the mix of energy sources (nuclear, renewable, conventional), the grid’s technical functionality and energy-related fiscal policies (subsidies, taxes, etc.) all influence industrial electricity prices and impact competitiveness. Further, security of supply is significant to Industrial consumers, for whom transmission congestion, stresses during periods of peak demand and supply disturbances and failures – even momentary ones – have tangible impacts on their productivity and their bottom line. Since, grid extension can help improve transmission efficiency, security of supply and reduce electricity prices; Industrial consumers are typically supportive of grid extension projects. However, they are also typically interested in limiting the part of the costs incurred by grid extension projects that has to be borne by the Industrial consumers. Further, while industry may be generally supportive of using green energy sources, it may oppose introduction of renewables if this translates into substantially higher prices.

 

 

Further project-specific questions: 
  • Will the project itself have any impact on either the security of supply or prices of electricity for industry in the region? 

  • Which needs have the specific affected Industrial consumers identified with respect to grid development?

Topography within stakeholder group: 
Individuals within stakeholder organisations/entities: 
Project stage for engagement: 
Usual patterns: 

If an Industrial consumer happens to be directly affected by a particular project, it may voice an opinion in the debate, for example to its employees or to local consumers of its products. However, Industrial consumers are generally not key actors at these stages of a project.

Further project-specific questions: 
  • Are any Industrial consumers directly affected by a local project?

  • If so, how may they voice their opinion on the project and to whom? 

Adequate communication channels for participation/cooperation: 
Usual patterns: 

TSOs, public authorities and other stakeholders may wish to consult and exchange with Industrial consumers during private meetings, in order to make decisions on grid planning and development including the consumers’ perspective. Industry representatives may also be present at larger events and Roundtables in order to ensure that their position and input on grid development is taken into account.

Further project-specific questions: 
  • At which EU- or national-level events (conferences, Roundtables, meetings, etc.) can industry representatives present their perspective and their needs with regards to a specific grid project?
Adequate communication formats for participation/cooperation: 
Country-specific examples: 

Germany is the showcase for a country where the centres of energy consumption, mostly situated in Germany’s South and West, are located far away from the centres of energy production, mostly situated in Germany’s North and East. This situation was even aggravated by the expansion of renewable energy production. Therefore, Germany’s Industrial consumers have been a vocal advocate of grid extension throughout the last years. This also included strong lobbying efforts to keep the share of the costs incurred by grid extension projects that has to be borne by Industrial consumers to a low level.

In Poland, Industrial consumers were also largely supportive of grid projects. Different from Germany, Poland only has a very limited share of renewables in its energy portfolio but Industrial consumers suffer from relatively old and inefficient grid lines.