Battery industry facing battle with EU over excessive red tape which ‘threatens energy transformation’
The future of battery energy storage in Europe could be derailed if more regulatory restrictions are imposed on a key industry powering the energy transformation, a business group meeting in Vienna is warning. The lead battery industry, which is meeting at its bi-annual conference in Austria this week (w/b September 2) has highlighted the EU as the number one risk to the multi-billion-dollar manufacturing capability worldwide.
Dr Andy Bush, of the International Lead Association, is warning delegates that proposals by the European Commission to restrict the use of lead and lead compounds will “jeopardise the entire industry” if EU officials successfully wave through new rules requiring ‘authorisation’ for the key components used in the production of batteries storing 75 per cent of the world’s rechargeable energy. He is calling on the EU to think again and consider more proportionate risk management measures. EU officials could ask the REACH chemicals regulatory committee, which is made up of member state representatives, to restrict the use of lead compounds – all of which are only used in lead battery manufacturing – as early as this month.
Dr Bush will tell delegates: “We are facing in Europe the very real possibility of regulatory restrictions that could ultimately jeopardise our entire industry. We have to explain to the EU just how much harm this would do not only to this industry but to the Commission’s own energy transformation aspirations to reduce harmful emissions and boost electrification. “All battery technologies use potentially toxic materials in their manufacturing processes, and singling out lead batteries, which play an essential role in Europe’s economy, is both disproportionate and counterproductive.”
He is also expected to argue that lead batteries should enjoy a level playing field with other technologies supporting the energy transformation and should not face more red tape. “Attempts to further regulate the production of lead batteries in the EU fly in the face of the Commission’s own energy storage vision and batteries action plan. To meet Europe’s rapidly growing demand for battery energy storage in the decades ahead, advanced lead batteries will be required at scale alongside other technologies to support electrification and decarbonisation. “Decision-makers in Brussels need a more joined-up policy approach so that we can fully support European decarbonisation and electrification plans and make the most of the economic and environmental opportunities presented by energy storage using advanced lead batteries.”
Lead battery manufacturing is already highly regulated in Europe, and the batteries – used extensively in vehicles, industrial applications, and to provide back-up for essential services including hospitals, telecoms and data centres – are sealed units with no risk of exposure to consumers. Almost 100 per cent of lead batteries are collected and recycled, making them one of the most sustainable consumer goods in Europe. The industry employs more than 20,000 people in manufacturing in the EU across 15 member states, contributing over 5 billion euros to the economy.
Note to editors
Dr Andy Bush is speaking at the 16ELBC lead battery conference in Vienna on Wednesday, September 5.
For more information contact the ILA Media Office:
Hywel Jarman Jarman@ila-lead.org Tel: +44 (0) 207 833 8090; +44 (0) 7718 483887
Niamh McLaughlin McLaughlin@ila-lead.org Tel: +44 (0) 207 833 8090
The International Lead Association is the trusted global trade association for the lead industry and its member companies are at the forefront of the mining, smelting, refining and recycling of lead. ILA represents the producers of about 3 million tonnes of lead. The association is working towards a vision of a sustainable global lead industry that is recognised for the positive contribution it makes to society.