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Background of the Covenant

The 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: The benchmarking studies are performed by experienced consultants, per process installation. Partitioning of the site into process installations is often necessary to obtain units which are comparable to other units abroad. It will then occur that an industry benchmarks more than an installation, resulting in a different gap to the best standard. An addition sum of the installations will be required, each with its gap and production volume, to arrive to the total gap between the industry and the hypothetical best standard industry.

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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Last update: 19/04/2013
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