With the start of the third trading period in 2013, auctioning is progressively replacing free allocation as the main method for allocating allowances to all EU ETS sectors except aviation. This best ensures the efficiency, transparency and simplicity of the system and creates the greatest incentive for investment in a low-carbon economy. Auctioning will also eliminate windfall profits, which arise when operators charge their customers the cost of allowances they have received for free.
All allowances which are not allocated free of charge are auctioned. 88% of the allowances for auctioning are distributed to Member States on the basis of EU ETS emissions in the 2005-2007 period. 10% of the allowances are distributed to poorer Member States to take account of the lower GDP per head and higher prospects for growth and emissions. Another 2% of the allowances are distributed to nine Member States which in 2005 had achieved a reduction of at least 20% in greenhouse gas emissions compared with the reference year set by the Kyoto Protocol.
Member States are responsible for ensuring that the allowances assigned to them are brought into the EU carbon market via auctions.
Auction revenues accrue to Member States. The ETS Directive recommends that at least half the revenues, and all of the revenues from auctioning aviation allowances, should be used to fight and adapt to climate change within the EU and/or in developing countries. The European Council has noted the willingness of Member States to use at least half of the revenues for this purpose.
The Auctioning Regulation provides for a common auction platform but gives Member States the possibility to opt-out and appoint their own auction platform. Germany, Poland and the UK have made use of this option.
At present, two platforms are auctioning allowances under the Auctioning Regulation:
Poland also intends to appoint an opt-out auction platform but will use the common auction platform in the meantime.
The EEA-EFTA States and, after its accession to the EU, Croatia will auction on the common auction platform as well.
An overwhelming majority of stakeholders, a large majority of Member States and the Commission's impact assessment supported a single EU-wide auction platform as it would best meet all objectives laid down in the revised EU ETS: it would be most cost efficient, most transparent, would best ensure respect of the principle of non-discrimination, and would offer the greatest level of harmonisation and predictability as compared to auctioning through two or more parallel national auction platforms.
Opt-out auction platforms must conform with the framework set out in the Regulation, which provides for further rules to ensure adequate coordination between the opt-out auction platforms and the common auction platform.
The maximum appointment duration for any auction platform is five years. EEX has been appointed as the common auction platform for three years, renewable for one additional year, but the contract may expire earlier once its successor is appointed. EEX has been contracted as Germany’s platform until 31 December 2013 at the latest; Germany has already launched the procurement procedure for appointing its successor. ICE has been contracted as the UK’s platform for a maximum duration of three years, renewable for a further two years.
Since the coexistence of the common auction platform and the opt-out auction platforms inevitably implies less than full harmonisation of the auction process, the arrangements put in place in the Auctioning Regulation will be reviewed in the light of the annual consolidated report drawn up by the auction monitor. This is to be delivered by the end of 2014. The review will be carried out in consultation with Member States and stakeholders.
The revised ETS Directive contains the general principle that all allowances not allocated free of charge are to be auctioned. The annual volumes to be auctioned and the timing and frequency of auctions are regulated in Chapter III of the Auctioning Regulation.
The total quantity of general allowances to be auctioned in 2013, as determined in the auction platforms' calendars, is estimated at 818,855,500. This is based on a conservative working estimate of the number of allowances to be auctioned under the cap for 2013. It also deducts, among other things, allowances allocated free of charge by eight Member States to certain electricity generators under Article 10c of the ETS Directive.
The total is composed as follows:
|541,197,000||EEX||24 participating Member States, Poland and EEA-EFTA States||Weekly auctions on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays|
|182,560,500||EEX||Germany||Weekly auctions on Fridays|
|95,098,000||ICE||United Kingdom||Fortnightly auctions on Wednesdays|
At this time, neither the EEX auction calendar nor the ICE calendar take into account the Commission's draft amendment of the Auctioning Regulation for postponing the auctioning of 400 million general allowances from the 2013 budget under the 'back-loading' initiative.
In addition to deducting the 151,566,054 allowances allocated free of charge under the Article 10c exemption, 60 million allowances - half of the 120 million from "early auctions" in 2012 - have been deducted under Article 10(2) of the Auctioning Regulation. The volume to be auctioned in 2013 by EEX as the common auction platform is increased by 30,298,500 allowances carried over from 2012. These could not be auctioned as the arrangements between the EEX and the auctioneers were not yet in place.
Any difference between the volumes established on the basis of the estimate given above and the final figures determined according to Article 10(1) of the ETS Directive will be taken into account in an update no later than July 2013. These calendar updates would also take into account any amounts for 2013 postponed to later years if a decision on back-loading has been taken in the meantime by Council and Parliament.
15% of the EU aviation allowances for the third trading period will be auctioned. The numbers to be auctioned each year has been set in a Commission decision.
However, the auctions of 2012 aviation allowances have been put on hold and the volume will be adjusted in view of the Commission's proposal to defer application of the EU ETS to international flights in 2012. The volume that was originally scheduled for these auctions will be adjusted and will be auctioned in February to April 2013. The auctions of phase 3 aviation allowances will start from May 2013. EEX and ICE will publish the auction calendars for aviation allowances on their websites.
Given the significant weight of power generation in the EU ETS, and even with partial free allocation in the eight member states, more than 40% of all allowances will be auctioned in 2013 and this share will rise in the coming years. In the second trading period (2008-2012), no more than 4% of the allowances were auctioned.
The revised EU ETS Directive adopted in 2009 requires the European Commission to adopt a Regulation on the timing, administration and other aspects of auctioning to ensure that auctioning is conducted in an open, transparent, harmonised and non-discriminatory manner. This must support the overarching aims of the revision of the EU ETS, namely greater efficiency of the system, more harmonisation, avoidance of distortion of competition and greater predictability. All these objectives would be at risk without appropriate rules.
The importance of these rules is underpinned by their legal form: a Regulation is the strongest form of EU legislation and its rules are directly applicable in all Member States.
The Auctioning Regulation was adopted by the Commission on 12 November 2010.
The auction format is a single-round, sealed bid, uniform price auction. This is a simple auction format that facilitates participation, including by SMEs (see question 13).
During a single bidding window of the auction, bidders can place any number of bids, each specifying the number of allowances they would like to buy at a given price. The bidding window is open for at least two hours. Directly following the closure of the bidding window, the auction platform determines and publishes the clearing price at which demand for allowances equals the number of allowances offered for sale in the auction concerned.
Successful bidders are the ones who have placed bids for allowances at or above the clearing price. All successful bidders pay the same price, regardless of the price they specified in their bids.
The Auctioning Regulation provides for allowances to be auctioned in the form of spot products, which means delivery within a maximum of five working days after the auction. The auctioned product may or may not be a financial instrument in the meaning of the EU regulatory framework for markets in financial instruments. The products auctioned by EEX and ICE are not such financial instruments; exact product specifications are available on the auctioning webpages of EEX and ICE.
Spot products have been chosen for their simplicity and because, unlike futures, they do not lock in the trading of the auctioned allowances to the auction platform(s), which could have a potentially negative impact on competition between trading places in the secondary market.
The following are eligible to apply for admission to bid in the auctions:
Where investment firms, credit institutions or exempt persons bid on behalf of their clients, they shall ensure that those clients are themselves eligible to apply for admission to bid, i.e. are included in one of the categories above.
See Article 18 of the Auctioning Regulation for the precise wording on the above.
Unauthorised brokers are not eligible to apply for admission to bid, but could play a role in facilitating the formation of business groupings. An interesting and relatively easy business opportunity for a broker might be to form a European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) made up solely of operators and/or aircraft operators. This is a relatively cost-effective means of establishing a business grouping under EU law allowing for cross-border membership. Such an EEIG could then apply to be admitted to bid directly in the auctions and could appoint traders employed by the broker to act as their bidder's representative within the meaning of Article 6(3) of the Auctioning Regulation.
Neither the auctioneer nor the auction platform or its staff may apply for admission to bid.
The auction platform must consider each application for admission in order to prevent auctions being used as a vehicle for money laundering, terrorist financing, criminal activity or market abuse. The auction platform must carry out customer due diligence checks. Complete information on the admission process and criteria can be found on the websites of EEX and ICE.
The Auctioning Regulation thus strikes a balance between the objectives of openness, effective competition and mitigating the risk of money laundering, terrorist financing, criminal activity or market abuse.
Once admitted, bidders are able to access the auctions through the internet. The auction platforms also offer dedicated connections. EEX, furthermore, offers a possibility to submit bids by fax. Complete information on the means of access can be found on the websites of EEX and ICE.
SMEs covered by the EU ETS as well as small emitters can access the auctions directly after going through the due diligence checks. They may also access the auctions through an intermediary or form a business grouping to act as an agent on their behalf. This may offer them the advantage of minimal transaction costs as well as certainty on the price and quantity of allowances they wish to receive.
The design of the auctions has been made as simple as possible to facilitate participation by SMEs. For example, all successful bidders pay the same clearing price so that SMEs and small emitters will not be disadvantaged by having less knowledge than larger participants.
Both EEX and ICE have measures in place to facilitate access for SMEs covered by the EU ETS, as well as for small emitters.
All Member States have appointed an auctioneer, who is responsible for offering the allowances to be auctioned to the auction platform on behalf of the appointing Member State. It also receives the auction proceeds and disburses these proceeds to the appointing Member State.
The auctioneer may be a private or public body. A list of auctioneers can be found under the Documentation tab at the top of this page.
The auction platform must be a regulated market authorised under EU financial markets legislation.
Regulated markets have been chosen because they are bound by EU law (the'Markets in Financial Instruments' Directive and the 'Market Abuse' Directive) to provide a number of safeguards in the conduct of their operations. These safeguards include, among others, arrangements to identify and manage the potential adverse consequences of any conflicts of interest, to identify and manage risks that the market is exposed to, and to have transparent and non-discretionary rules and procedures for fair and orderly trading.
Fair and orderly auctioning is ensured, firstly, by provisions in the Auctioning Regulation on access to the auctions and the auction calendar. The auction platform is obliged to ensure appropriate ‘know-your-customer’ checks are carried out before it grants admission to any potential bidder.
Secondly, the auction platform must be a regulated market, which ensures that it meets strict standards and will be supervised by the competent national authority for financial markets of the Member State in which it is located.
The Auctioning Regulation includes detailed provisions to mitigate the risk of anti-competitive behaviour. Depending on the product auctioned, the auctions will be covered either by the Market Abuse Directive or by detailed provisions that provide equivalent protection.
Finally, in order to ensure fair treatment of clients, the Auctioning Regulation lays down an authorisation requirement and rules of conduct for intermediaries in case they are not covered by the rules of conduct provided for in the EU Financial legislation. It is, however, optional for Member States to put in place a legal framework for the authorisation of such intermediaries.
More information on carbon market oversight is available on the page 'Ensuring the integrity of the European carbon market'.
Yes, there will be a single independent auction monitor for all auctions on all auction platforms. The single auction monitor will be chosen through a competitive procurement procedure conducted jointly by the Commission and all Member States.
The single auction monitor will play an integral role in the oversight of the auctions. Each month, it will submit a report to Member States and the Commission on all auctions conducted that month. It will produce a consolidated annual report on the functioning of the auctions, including any evidence of anti-competitive behaviour or market abuse and the impact of auctioning on the secondary market for allowances. Non-confidential versions of these reports will be published on the Commission's website.
The single auction monitor may also be asked to prepare ad hoc reports on a specific issue relating to auctioning. Furthermore, in light of a suspected breach of the regulation by an auction platform, the single auction monitor must draw up a report stating the nature of the breach, making recommendations to remedy the situation and, if appropriate, recommend the suspension of the auction platform.
Two separate bodies will supervise the auctions.
The auction monitor will be responsible for reporting to Member States and the Commission on the functioning of all auctions on all platforms.
In addition, the competent national authority for financial markets of the Member State in which an auction platform is located is responsible for supervising that auction platform. The conduct of investment firms, credit institutions or other persons authorised to bid on behalf of others is also supervised by the relevant national authorities. This supervision includes any necessary investigation and prosecution of market abuse.
The public authorities involved are required to cooperate with each other in fulfilling their obligations.
The costs of the auction process, including the costs of setting up the technical infrastructure, the actual conduct of the auctions and carrying out due diligence checks on bidders, will in general be paid for by the bidders through the fixed and variable fees they pay to an auction platform to participate in the auctions.
The costs of the single auction monitor will be deducted from the auction proceeds and will be borne by the Member States.
Yes, the Auctioning Regulation will be reviewed following delivery of the first annual consolidated report by the auction monitor, which is due by end-2014.
The review will be carried out in consultation with Member States and stakeholders. The Commission will put forward any measures deemed necessary to deal with any distortion or malfunctioning of the internal market or the carbon market arising from the arrangements under the Regulation with a view to their entry into force by 31 December 2016.
This does not preclude the findings of a wider, ongoing work stream pursuant to Article 12(1a) of the ETS Directive, which is examining whether the EU ETS allowances market is sufficiently protected from market abuse. This work is also concerned with organising the oversight of the European carbon market and securing the market integrity of auctioning and trading.
Yes, all information on consultations held and on the Commission's impact assessment can be found on the consultation page.
Yes, several other countries and regions auction allowances or are considering doing so. They include Australia - with which the Commission has agreed a pathway towards linking the EU ETS with the Australian system - California, and certain North-Eastern States of the US participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The annual volumes to be auctioned under the EU ETS are by far the largest, however.
Contract Notices are always published on Tender Electronic Daily (TED), the electronic version of the supplement S to the Official Journal of the European Union. Full tender documents are made available on DG CLIMA's call page.
The Commission has published a notice on the Member States' implementation of the Auctioning Regulation and on transparency. As set out in this notice, the Commission may publish draft tender documents in order to ensure maximum transparency and equal treatment. These drafts can be found under the Documentation tab at the top of this page.
The publication of such drafts does not constitute publication or advertising within the meaning of Article 90(1) of the Financial Regulation nor Articles 118, 119 and 120 of the Implementing Rules. Any part of such drafts may be changed; the drafts are not binding on the Commission or the Member States taking part in the joint procurement. Only the notices and associated documents relating to the call for tenders published in the OJ shall be authentic.
The Commission is the sole contact point for candidates and tenderers. An information note sets out the rules for contacts with economic operators on matters pertaining to the joint procurement procedures.
For procuring the auction monitor, a prior information notice (PIN) was published in OJ/S 200 of 17 October 2012. The PIN does not constitute in itself a launch of a procurement procedure. When the procedure is launched, the contract notice and related documents will be published on the tender page.
This is not known yet.
An information note sets out the rules for contacts with economic operators on matters pertaining to the joint procurement procedures.
Two joint procurement agreements between the participating Member States and the Commission are in force, one for the procurement of the common auction platform and the other for the auction monitor. The agreements lay down the modalities for the conduct of these procurement procedures jointly by the Member States and the Commission.
Among other things, they provide that:
The procurement procedures themselves are conducted pursuant to the procurement rules in the Financial Regulation, which is the legal basis for procurement procedures carried out by the Commission.
After determining the details of its intended auction platform, a Member State opting out of the common auction platform(s) notifies its plans, including all relevant details, to the Commission. The Commission verifies that the auction platform satisfies the rules of the Auctioning Regulation and the objectives of the ETS Directive, and to determine whether obligations or conditions could be required for ensuring adequate coordination between the different auction platforms.
If the Commission is satisfied that the opt-out platform respects the rules and can be expected to achieve the objectives of the ETS Directive, it puts forward a draft amendment of the Auctioning Regulation to list the opt-out platform in an Annex to the regulation. The adoption of this amendment follows the same procedure as the adoption of the Auctioning Regulation itself, including an opinion by the Member States represented in the Climate Change Committee, followed by a three-month scrutiny period for the Council and the European Parliament. The opt-out platform can start conducting auctions only when the amendment to list it has entered into force.
Under this procedure, EEX has been listed as Germany’s opt-out auction platform and ICE as the UK’s. Poland has yet to procure and notify its platform.
In the absence of an opt-out auction platform being listed, the Member State concerned has to auction its share of allowances on the common auction platform, so as to ensure that the envisaged volume of allowances comes to the market as foreseen in the Auctioning Regulation.
The auction calendar determined by EEX, in its capacity as common auction platform, will provide for the auctioning of allowances for Poland as from two weeks from the admittance of Poland's auctioneer by EEX and its recognition by EEX's clearing house ECC. A contract between EEX and Poland for such auctioning is under preparation.
No, Member States cannot give preferential treatment to their own industry. All auction platforms must give all eligible bidders equal access to auctions and no preference can be given to companies registered in any particular Member State. The provision that any auction platform must be a regulated market helps to ensure that all participants are treated in a fair and non-discriminatory way.