UK ETS Authority: Looking at Changing the Threshold

It is important that installations which fall just below the threshold for participation in the UK ETS are aware that the UK ETS Authority is looking to reduce the thresholds.

There are many installations (i.e., electricity generators) that sit just below these thresholds, and the Authority wishes to determine how many sites would be captured with lower thresholds.

At present, the threshold for combustion requires all installations, where the combustion of fuels in units with a total rated thermal input capacity exceeds 20 MWth, to participate in the UK ETS.

How to calculate total rated thermal input capacity?

Initially, all technical units with a rated thermal input capacity greater than 3 MWth are totalled. If that total is greater than 20 MWth, the rest of the technical units are added into the total. See the below examples for further explanation.

Example: Installation one

UK ETS participant: No

  • 10 technical units rated at 2.5 MWth each
  • No technical units >3 MWth
  • Total rated thermal input capacity of >3 MWth technical units = 0 MWth


Example: Installation two

UK ETS participant: Yes

  • 3 technical units rated at 2 MWth each
  • 4 technical units rated units at 6 MWth each
  • Total rated thermal input capacity of >3 MWth technical units = 24 MWth
  • Total rated thermal input capacity = 30 MWth

For those installations rated just below these thresholds it is important they are aware of some potential changes and how they maybe be impacted. The UK ETS Authority has yet to report if and by how much the threshold will change, and states that a threshold specific consultation will be required if there is enough evidence that the current 20 MWth and 3 MWth threshold are having adverse effects on the UK’s progess to

Why are the UK ETS Authority looking at changing the thresholds?

The UK ETS Authority wishes to reduce the threshold to capture a greater portion of UK greenhouse gas emissions.

In October 2021, the UK announced its net-zero pathway. At present, the UK ETS does not support the UK’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. As part of the UK ETS, installations are encouraged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. By increasing the scope of the UK ETS, more installations will take action to reduce emissions and allow the UK to reach net-zero by 2050.

If you have any other questions about ETS, speak to the team on 01484 843867, or click Swan Know How.

Rebecca Scarratt

Carbon Consultant

Rebecca Scarratt

Carbon Consultant

Rebecca has joined the Swan Energy team in 2021. She graduated from the University of Hull with a BSc in Geology with Physical Geography in 2020 and went on to do a MSc in Renewable Energy. Her Masters’ thesis focused on how future climate change may impact the Humber region’s wind energy sector and how adaptation strategies could be used to reduce vulnerability.

In her role at Swan Energy, Rebecca supports the consultancy work the team does with clients across the UK.