German Emissions Trading Authority

Auctioning

Since the beginning of 2010, the Federal Republic of Germany has been offering emission allowances (EUAs) at the European Energy Exchange EEX in Leipzig. As of the third trading period, the Auctioning will become the fundamental allocation rule in the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

Overview

Generally, only the proportion of the emissions trading budget (EU-Cap stationary), which is not allocated to installation operators for free or has been ring-fenced for the new entrant reserve, is auctioned by the Member States. Germany’s share of the overall European allowances volume to be auctioned in the third trading period amounts to around 21 per cent. Before the definite auction volume could be calculated, the free preliminary allocation procedure for the third trading period had to be finished. This was the case when the decision of the European Commission of 05/09/2013 ("NIMs Decision") was published. The following table summarises the auction volumes of the third trading period for the years 2012 to 2014.

Auction volume
 2012*
20132014
*Early Auctions
Auction volume EU-wide in m EUA89,70808,15528,40
Auction volume Germany in m EUA23,53182,56127,13
Germany´s share26,23%22,59%24,06%

The published auction calendar of 2013 was based on a conservative estimate of the auction volume made by the European Commission in 2012. However, there was no modification of the existing auction calendars in 2013. Instead, the additional auction volumes, which were calculated based on the NIMs Decision, are considered in the auction calendars of 2014.

Aviation was part of the EU ETS right from 2012, thus, a year ahead of the scheduled beginning of the third trading period. Since November 2012 only flights within Europe are mandatory covered due to the "Stopping the Clock" proposal of the European Commission. The auctions in the aviation sector are suspended since then. However, it is basically planned that 15% of the circulating amount of aviation allowances will be auctioned annually.

The EU Auctioning Regulation which came into force in November 2010 provides the legal framework for auctioning during the third trading period.

Information on the further implementation process can be found on the European Commission website.

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Archive

In our archive you may find information concerning earlier trading periods.

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Auction regulations

Procedure

The EU Auctioning Regulation ensures that ETS participants have harmonized, non-discriminatory and cost-efficient access to the European primary market for emission allowances. Not least due to the positive experience in Germany during the second trading period, the existing infrastructures of the secondary market will also be used in auctions in the third trading period. All over the EU, auctions take place only on trading platforms that are part of regulated markets.

The Regulation allows not only for the commissioning of a common trading platform by the European Commission and Member States, but also for the option for Member States to operate their own platform - an option taken up not only by Germany, but also the United Kingdom and Poland. Germany as well as the United Kingdom have already set up an own platform. Thus, in the third trading period ,bidders have the choice to use the platform best suited to their needs. Additionally, different trading platforms stimulate the competition in the secondary market. The framework provides an important level playing field, including the coordination of auction calendars, uniform and non-discriminative access and a single auction monitor for all platforms during the third trading period.

Auctions are held by using the established single-round, uniform-price procedure and a closed order book. This procedure has already been applied in the primary auctions in Germany. However, there are differences, for example, in the type of products to be auctioned. In the third trading period, Member States may only choose between those contracts for immediate delivery (spot) and those with a maximum of five-day delivery (five-day future). Generally, the same rules of procedure are applied to the auctioning of aviation allowances as to the other auctions.

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Participation

The EU Auctioning Regulation contains minimum requirements for appropriate access control. This is intended to boost bidder numbers, in particular from installation and aircraft operators participating in emissions trading. Additionally, the reliability and integrity of the auction procedure must be guaranteed. The access requirements follow secondary market practice and permit also those persons not participating as operators in emissions trading to access the auctions. Alongside direct online participation, the EU Auctioning Regulation also permits indirect access via licensed financial intermediaries. Financial institutions and investment companies can take on this role as long as they are in possession of the required licenses.

In line with the practice, which has proved itself in the second trading period, trade participants, who already have been registered with the secondary market at the European Energy Exchange (EEX), are also able to participate in the auctions easily and at no further authorisation costs. However, the trading participants have to confirm with the exchange that they are entitled to participate in primary market auctions of emission allowances according to the EU Regulation. The EEX provides the relevant forms and information about the authorisation on their website. Generally, the fees for the participation in auction procedures must not exceed comparable standard fees on the secondary market.

Additionally, since August 2012, the EEX has simplified its access requirements for participation in auctions for emission allowances (EUA) and EUAA with a new admission option. This so-called “auction-only” access has relatively low requirements and is limited to participation in the spot market auctions. It means that operators do not have to furnish proof of liable equity capital, nor is there a need for an electronic connection to the EEX trading system. The bids can be optionally sent by fax. The bid will then be entered on behalf of the bidder into the trading system by the EEX Market Supervision. Due to the optional waiver of an electronic trading connection, auction-only participants do not necessarily have to have a licensed exchange trader. An annual fee does not apply for this access variant via the EEX Market Supervision. In case of an auction-only access with an electronic connection to the trading system, a reduced annual fee applies. Further information on terms of participation is available on the EEX website.

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2012: Early auctions and auctioning of aviation allowances

In order to ensure a seamless transition between trading periods, EU Member States decided in July 2011 to auction emission allowances for 2013 and 2014 already in 2012 (so-called Early Auctions). It was thus intended to bring forward 120 million emission allowances for stationary activities Europe-wide. Germany's share was around 23.5 million allowances. Of the set 120 million emission allowances only about 90 million could be auctioned, because several EU Member States could not finish their preparations for the auctioning in time.

On 14/12/2012, the German early auctions of emission allowances (EUA) for the third trading period were concluded successfully at Germany's transitional platform. Primary market auctions for immediate delivery (spot contracts) have been held on a weekly basis until 26/10/2012.

In addition to the start of early auctions of EUA, the EEX also auctions the German share of aviation allowances (EUAA). In 2012, already 2.5 million aviation allowances (EUAA spot contracts) have been auctioned on 31/10. The precise quantity of EUAA to be auctioned in the following years has yet to be determined by the European Commission. Due to the "Stopping the Clock" proposal of the Commission and the still ongoing discussions regarding the aviation sector, we cannot give any specific information on the amount of the auction volume of the aviation sector. Generally, it is planned to auction 15 per cent of the circulating amount of aviation allowances annually.

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2013: Start of regular auctions

Following the early auctions of emission allowances between October and December 2012, the regular German auctions of allowances of the third trading period will continue from January 2013 onwards in accordance with the auction calendar. The auction calendar 2013, which was compiled by the EEX and the European Commission, has already been published at the EEX website in December 2012. Thus, in 2013, there were 182.560.500 emission allowances for the third trading period to be auctioned by Germany. This was a preliminary estimation of the amount to be auctioned. Before the definite auction volume could have been calculated, the free preliminary allocation procedure for the third trading period had to be finished. This was the case when the decision of the European Commission of 05/09/2013 ("NIMs Decision") was published. However, there was no modification in 2013 of the existing auction calendars. Instead, the additional auction volumes, which were calculated based on the NIMs Decision, will be taken into account in the auction calendars of 2014.

In 2013, Germany held weekly auctions of emission allowances for the third trading period at the EEX between 9 to 11 am (CET) on Fridays. During the destined calendar period from 11/01/ to 13/12/2013, 4.020.000 emission allowances will be auctioned per date. This applies to all months, except August in which only half as much emission allowances will be auctioned per date in accordance with the Auctioning Regulation.

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2014: Implementation of back-loading

On 27/02/2014 the amendment to the EU Auctioning Regulation on the temporary deferral of auction volumes went into force (so called back-loading). Accordingly, between 2014 and 2016, 900 million emission allowances less shall be auctioned EU-wide than originally planned. 2014’s auction volume will be reduced by 400 million EUA. In 2015 the reduction of auction volumes will amount to 300 million EUA; in 2016 the auction volume will be reduced by 200 million EUA. Out of the overall back-loading volume of 900 million EUA, 300 million EUA will be reintroduced into the market in 2019 and 600 million EUA in 2020. Germany’s share of the back-loaded auction volume accounts for around 19.35%. The German auction volume will hence be reduced from currently 204,534,500 to 127,127,500 EUA in 2014. Following implementation of the legal provisions of the EU Auctioning Regulation, EEX has published a respective adjusted Auction Calendar 2014. The first German auction date offering the reduced auction volume is scheduled for 21/03/ 2014. As of this date, the weekly auction volumes, traditionally offered on Fridays, will be reduced to 2,352,000 EUA. In August only half of this volume, 1,176,000 EUA, will be auctioned pursuant relevant European legal provisions. The German end of the year auction will take place on 12/12/2014, offering a volume of 2,335,500 EUA. Further information on the implementation of back-loading is available on the European Union website.

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2015: Commissioning of trading platforms

In order to implement these European requirements, the German Environment Agency (UBA) has launched a Europe-wide public procurement process already in Autumn 2011 for a so-called transitional auction platform on behalf of the German Federal Government. The EEX in Leipzig won the tender. On this transitional platform, the German emission allowances (EUA) for the third trading period (2013-2020) as well as the aviation allowances (EUAA) were auctioned until the end of 2013.

For the commissioning of a definitive auction platform, the German Environment Agency initiated a second Europe-wide tender in Autumn 2012, and again the EEX received the order. The tender was accepted on 27/02/2013. The EEX has also successfully passed the European Commission’s assessment process as the definitive German auction platform. The relevant body of the EU Member States, the Climate Change Committee, approved the nomination on 18/06/2013. Following a formal period of three months, during which the Council and European Parliament could object, EEX was included on 14th November in annex III of the EU Auctioning Regulation. The official change from a transitional to a definite platform took place at the turn of the year. EEX will conduct the auctions until the end of 2016 with the possibility of an extension for a further two years.

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DEHSt as German auctioneer

According to paragraph 22 of the European Auctioning Regulation, every Member State has to appoint an auctioneer. The auctioneer is responsible for e.g. overseeing the settlement of auctioning proceedings with the clearing house of EEX (ECC). Since 01/10/2013, DEHSt acts as the auctioneer for the Federal Republic of Germany and is therefore the official provider of allowances at German auctions. Since 2010 up to and including 30/09/2013, the KfW banking group (KfW) had been appointed by DEHSt to act as auctioneer. Once the contract ended, DEHSt adopted all functions of the auctioneer.

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