Background of the CovenantThe Benchmarking Covenant was drawn up for large energy intensive industries, from all industrial sectors. Participation is possible per site. A lower limit of 0,5 PJ per site was introduced as this is an objective criterion below which the benchmarking studies would become too expensive. In specific cases industries below 0,5 PJ may decide to take part in the covenant. The covenant has a working period up to 2012.
By participation in the covenant industries commit themselves to bring and/or keep the energy efficiency of their process installations on the best international standard by 2012, taking into account that the best standard will improve in the meantime. As best standard is not defined the world's very best, but a restricted margin for which several methods apply:
- in the full benchmark all comparable installations in the world are involved, and the best standard is defined as the best decile (the 10 % best industries);
- in the region benchmark, the best regions are involved and the average of the best region is defined as best standard;
- in the best practice method, only the very best in the world is looked at, defining the best standard as a 10 % higher specific energy consumption;
- if previous methods are not feasible, auditing principles will be applied to estimate the potential energy efficiency improvements.
At last one year and a half after entering the covenant, the participant draws up an Energy Plan which contains all measures necessary to realize and maintain the best international standard. The terms to realize these measures are defined by the covenant, based on the economic efficiency. From that moment on, the industry will annually draw up a monitoring and progress report.
As steering group of the covenant a "Commission Benchmarking" will be formed, consisting of representatives from the ministries and the industrial sectors. This Commission takes care of the general coordination, finds solutions for bottlenecks in the execution (for instance particular situations which may arise by assessing the best standard), controls the progress and publishes reports on the results of the covenant.
The calculations and the execution, being highly important parts of the covenant, should be accurately followed up. For this purpose an independent authority is funded: the Verification Office. This verification office must approve the benchmarking consultants and the used methodology prior to the start of the study. It also checks and verifies the submitted Energy Plan, the execution of the measures as well as the monitoring and reporting. It draws up advices and reports in behalf of the Commission Benchmarking.
As compensation for the efforts of the industries, the Flemish Government guarantees that she will not impose additional measures concerning energy efficiency or CO2; this particularly applies to levies and emission ceilings. Furthermore, she will make any efforts to obtain exemptions of additional Belgian or European measures for the industries that participate in the covenant.
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