Launched in April 2013, the project has allowed companies to benefit from existing energy efficiency tools and exchange best practices during its initial 27-month EU-funded phase and continues to do so through its on-line platform and the network of SMEs established within the context of the project.
Coordinated by Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, the project has brought together 11 national chemical federations, accounting for around 80% of European chemical industry sales. The countries represented are Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Finland, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the UK. Other project partners are energy consultancy Challoch Energy, online communications agency ExtraMile, and The Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO.nl, which falls under the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.
The project has always actively sought participation from other countries and was pleased to welcome the French and Spanish national chemical associations as voluntary partners in September 2013.
Energy can account for up to half of all operating costs in chemicals production. The major chemical companies are already a considerable way along the road of energy efficiency deployment and improvement. Altogether the chemicals sector achieved a 49% reduction in energy use per unit of production from 1990 to 2011.
However, the SMEs have hardly started and need much more support. What is more, most EU chemical companies are small or medium-sized, accounting for 30% of sales and 37% of jobs in the industry.
A challenge related to energy efficiency – also highlighted by the SMEs themselves – is that these companies tend to be difficult to reach out to and need support, both on the educational and often also the technical side.
Previous projects, such as the CARE+ project initiated by Cefic, have shown that even if the tools are in place, what SMEs often lack is the personal contact to other companies – both small and large – with experience in implementing energy efficiency measures as well as easy access to information on support offered either at the European or national level. Information on funding opportunities and national or regional associations offering advice and support, in turn, can be crucial to kick-start SMEs’ energy efficiency efforts.
The development of the SPiCE³ platform has been the reponse to the lack of a website which could transparently bring together the necessary know-how to ensure that companies and national federations can mutually benefit from the aforementioned experiences.
SPiCE³ has, from the beginning, aimed to develop a coordinated approach using both top-down (the platform) and bottom-up (the workshops and training) measures. The platform was brought to life by concrete actions, such as workshops at local level aimed at spreading knowledge about how to improve energy efficiency and building up a network of chemical SMEs and others (e.g. larger companies). One of the major goals achieved by the SPiCE³ project has been the successful kick-start of this initiative and the fact of providing it with proper momentum, so now that the project’s EU-funded period is completed, the sector can maintain the initiative as a voluntary action.
The project partners are committed to a long-term effort through SPiCE³ for improving energy efficiency in the chemical industry that will last way beyond the 27-month period of European funding (from April 2013 until the end of June 2015).
Country / Region: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Europe, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, United KingdomTags: agencies, best practice, chemicals sector processes, climate relevant communication, energy, energy efficiency, industry, ministries, projects
Knowledge Object: Web Resource