EU sets provisional CO2 auction calendar for 2014

Reuters

WARSAW (Reuters) - European governments will auction 926.2 million spot EU carbon permits next year under the bloc's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the European Commission said late on Monday.

Around 819.7 million allowances will be sold by German energy exchange EEX on behalf of 27 countries, while London-based ICE Futures Europe will auction 106.5 million for the British government.

Under the EU ETS, utilities have to buy carbon permits to cover every metric ton of carbon dioxide they emit.

The volumes include 4.9 million Croatian units that were unable to be sold this year, but exclude a further 17.2 million allowances from Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, which will begin to be sold on EEX once an agreement is reached between the Commission, the exchange and the three non-EU countries.

The figures also do not take into account a proposal to prop up carbon prices by withholding sales of 900 million allowances, which is expected to be approved by EU member states and parliament next month.

"The calendars will be modified accordingly for the remainder of the year following adoption of this (proposal) ... which will affect the (auction volumes) for individual years including 2014," the Commission said on its website.

EEX said it would hold auctions on behalf of 25 member states every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from January 7 to December 16, and for Germany every Friday during that period.

The bourse added that it will also hold sales for Poland every fourth Wednesday beginning on January 8, after the country selected this as an interim solution while it designs its own auction platform.

EEX was selected to host auctions by most governments, with only Britain opting to sell via ICE Futures Europe, which will hold sales of UK permits every other Wednesday.

The two exchanges are due to sell around 808 million allowances this year, meaning 2014's provisional sales quota marks a 15 percent annual increase.

Under EU rules, the number of permits handed out for free to big polluters drops annually during the current 2013-2020 phase of the ETS, meaning that the number auctioned every year rises.

(Reporting by Michael Szabo; Editing by Anthony Barker)

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