Italy this month issued more than 16 million free EUAs to more than 70 installations that had been waiting to receive allowances for 2014 and/or 2015.
According to an undated document posted on the Italian environment ministry’s website on Oct. 13, the government approved a resolution that paved the way to the issuances, worth around €136 million, adding that “there are no more reasons to block the release”.
Some 713,300 2014-vintage EUAs were handed to 15 installations, four of which were also cleared to receive their 2015 allowances.
A total 15.43 million EUAs to cover this year’s emissions were distributed to 60 installations.
By far the largest emitter to receive allowances from this batch was the Taranto steel plant, which was awarded 13.7 million units, worth €115.8 million at Wednesday’s prices. In contrast, it emitted 7.4 million tonnes of CO2e last year, according to EU data.
The installation was nationalised earlier this year after having been under special administration since 2013 when its owners, the Riva family – owners of the steelmaking conglomerate Riva Group, were accused of failing to prevent the emission of toxic fumes from the plant.
Other major recipients of the free allowances were Italcementi’s cement plant in Colleferro, which got 386,889 EUAs for 2015, Eni’s refinery in Gela, which got 355,960 EUAs for 2014, and Eni’s refinery in Venezia, which got 232,689 EUAs for 2014.
Italy was the last EU member state to submit to the European Commission proposed changes to the number of free EUAs it aimed to give to industrial plants this year.
EU governments are required to notify the Commission about amendments to annual EUA allocations for installations that have changed their activity level, production capacity or carbon leakage status.
In addition, the late issuances for 2014 suggest that those installations may have been left scrambling to cover their compliance obligations for that year.
Italy handed out 20.7 million 2014-vintage EUAs in late April, just days before operators were due to hand in their allowances.
Delays in verifying modifications in the Italian plants’ activities, production levels and locations are said to have held up Italy’s 2014 allocation.
By Mike Szabo – firstname.lastname@example.org