Allocation & auctioning

Harmonised allocation rules

The fourth phase of the EU-ETS starts on 1 January 2021 and covers emissions in the period 2021-2030. Similar to the third phase (2013-2020), the free allocations to the installations and aircraft operators within this period have been calculated based upon harmonised allocation rules:

  • Allocation is done in a harmonised way across Europe
  • Allocation is done based upon historical data on production and emissions
  • Less allowances are allocated for free, more allowances are auctioned
  • The amount of allowances allocated for free decreases towards the end of the period
  • Free allocations continue to focus on sectors at the highest risk of reallocating their production outside the EU (Carbon leakage measures).
  • A considerable number of free allowances is set aside for new and growing installations.
  • More flexible rules - in comparison to phase III - have been set to better align the level of free allocation with actual production levels.
  • The 54 benchmark values determining the level of free allocation to each installation will be updated twice in phase 4 to avoid windfall profits and reflect technological progress since 2008.

Free allocation

Each year before the end of June (previously the end of February) most installations and aircraft operators participating in the EU-ETS receive a free allocation of allowances. This free allocation is based upon the National Allocation Table.

Phase IV (2021-2030)

Phase II (2008-2012) & III (2013-2020)



During the third phase of the EU-ETS (2013-2020) approximately half of the general emission allowances (EUAs) have been sold through regular auctions, in accordance with Commission Regulation (EU) No. 1031/2010 (the "Auctioning Regulation"). In the fourth phase of the EU-ETS (2021-2030) 57 percent of the allowances will to auctioned.

The European Commission has designated the German auctioning platform EEX as common European auctioning platform for the European Member States. As most other Member States, Belgium takes part in this platform. Germany and Poland are not participating in the common European trading platform, but they are organising their auctionings themselves via their own instances of the EEX auctioning platform.

Any operator and aircraft operator participating in the EU-ETS can participate in the auctionings. Other entities (like for example investment firms or credit institutions and in principle even individuals) may participate as well. All entities applying for admission to bid need however to fulfill the requirements of the Auctioning Regulation as well as any additional requirement set by the auctioning platform (EEX) itself. In practice, about 40 entities participate in the auctions EU-wide.

The auctioning platform publishes an auctioning calender which gives an overview of the auctioning dates as well as of the number of allowances auctioned each date.

The following reports provide an overview of the Belgian auctioning revenues :

Participating in the auctions

Compliance operators may participate directly in the auctions. More information on the different accesses (at page 5) to the auctions and the documents to be provided (at page 7) can be found in the following document by EEX.

To establish for example a simple auction-only membership, the operator is required to complete and submit only a limited set of documentation. Bidding on the auctions can be done via the EEX helpdesk.

In practice, one would need to get in touch with one of the - currently 22 - clearing members to establish an NCM agreement, in addition to collecting the information for the other documents at their side.

Once admitted, operators are able to bid on the auctions via the platform, via phone, e-mail or fax. Costs to participate amount to € 3 - 3,88 / 1000 allowances, without other fixed costs charged by EEX. Costs from ECC would be € 1000 per year (unless for the first year) and some additional costs from the clearing bank, but this depends on the chosen clearing bank and their fees...

For additional support on your admission to the EEX platform, you may contact their Admission Team by phone +49 341 2156 261 or by email

Another option for compliance operators to participate in the auctions is to rely directly on an intermediary and hence to choose one of the companies offering to bid on behalf.

Carbon leakage

Carbon leakage describes the situation that may occur if, for reasons of costs related to climate policies like the EU-ETS, operators transfer production to other countries (outside the EU). The risk of carbon leakage may be higher in certain energy-intensive industries.

Carbon leakage is an unwanted effect as, in case of a transfer of production, CO2 emissions might no longer be regulated. Moreover there is a negative effect on the European economy as well. Hence, based on the "carbon leakage status" of an installation, more or less allowances might be allocated for free.

More information on carbon leakage can be found at the website of the European Commission:


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