By Pirita Huotari, Senior Consultant, Fisher International
The European Union is proceeding with its sustainability goals, aiming for increased use of renewable energy sources, reducing energy consumption, and minimizing waste. Regarding fossil fuels, the EU is highly dependent on imports, especially Russian gas (40%) and OPEC oil (40%). Even with coal and other solid fuels, as much as 40% is imported from outside of the EU. Wary that insecurities in the market environment might also affect fuel supplies, the EU strives to decrease its dependency on imported fuels. Finding alternative energy sources may become increasingly important to achieving this objective.
As the third biggest industrial energy consumer of the EU, the paper industry plays an essential role in reaching the EU’s targets. Even though over 50% of the industry’s energy needs are already covered by renewables, it is still a significant user of purchased electricity and fossil fuels. Energy costs form, on average, 19% of the paper and pulp products’ production costs. That’s 13 billion Euros spent on fuel and electricity annually. To understand the risks and opportunities in the paper industry’s energy consumption, let’s take a look at the fuel and electricity consumption differences across grades and EU countries.
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