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Who must participate in the EU ETS?

Participation is mandatory for industry, power plants and large heat generators

While around 11,000 plant operators across Europe are currently obliged to participate in the EU ETS, in Germany there are around 1,900 operators.
Whether a plant is subject to emissions trading ultimately depends on certain threshold values. All combustion plants with a thermal capacity of at least 20 MW are obliged to participate in the EU ETS. Plants in energy-intensive industries such as steelworks, cement works and refineries must exceed a sector-specific production output in order to be subject to the emissions trading obligation. 

Since 2013, the chemical and aluminium industries have also been largely covered by the EU ETS, as since then not only CO2 emissions but also the much more environmentally harmful greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxides (N2O) and perfluorocarbons (PFC) have been subject to emissions trading. Aviation has also been included into emissions trading since 2012. Currently, all aircraft operators who operate flights within an EU ETS Member State or between EU ETS Member States are affected.

There is no reason to voluntarily participate in EU emissions trading. Those who do not meet the legally defined thresholds are also not allowed to participate.

However, every company that does not meet the threshold values and also every private person is free to participate in the voluntary emissions trading through climate compensation. For this purpose, there are special service providers such as Climate Company.