EU Emissions Trading Scheme – Registry System

What is the registry system?

Directive 2003/87/EC requires that all allowances shall be held in the Union Registry. The registry system provides for the electronic recording of issuance of allowances and of all transactions involving allowances or units derived from Kyoto Protocol project-based mechanisms performed by operators participating in the EU ETS. The registry may also be used by persons not subject to compliance requirements of the EU ETS Directive in order to carry out transactions of allowances.

The manner in which registries function is regulated by the Registries Regulation, which is an implementing provision arising from Directive 2003/87/EC. The registry system records the following elements:

  • Allowances and units that are issued to and held in installation/aircraft operator accounts;
  • Annual verified reported emissions for installations/aircraft operators;
  • Transfers of allowances and units into or out of accounts and surrendering, cancellation and replacement of allowances;
  • Annual compliance status of installations/aircraft operators

Opening of holding accounts

The registry system allows the National Registry Administrator to create and administer allowance-holding accounts. An operator of a stationary installation or an aircraft operator subject to the compliance requirements of the EU ETS Directive must have a holding account opened in the Union Registry.

Accounting for emissions

An operator participating in the EU ETS must account for reported emissions by surrendering an amount of allowances equivalent to the quantity of actual emissions reported in the previous year’s annual emission report. This function is carried out through the registry account.

The free allowances to which an operator is eligible for a particular year are issued into the operator’s account by the Registry Administrator by 28 February of that year.

Surrendering of allowances in respect of reported emissions for a year has to take place by not later than 30 April – thus, for the reported emissions for the calendar year X, allowances must be surrendered by not later than 30 April of year X+1.

An operator holding in his account a quantity of allowances that is less than the actual emissions to be covered by surrendered allowances, must acquire additional allowances or use (to the extent allowed) units derived from Kyoto Protocol project-based mechanisms (Certified Emissions Reduction Units – CERs – from Clean Development Mechanism projects; Emissions Reduction Units – ERUs – from Joint Implementation projects).

An operator with a quantity of allowances greater than the amount of emissions to be covered by surrendered allowances can either hold on to excess allowances (“bank” them) or sell them.

An operator may also “borrow” allowances from the subsequent year to cover any shortfall in allowances during a particular year; however, no “borrowing” of allowances can take place between trading periods.

For each tonne of CO2 equivalent reported for which an operator does not surrender an allowance, the operator is liable to pay a penalty of €100 as required by the Directive. Payment of this excess emission penalty however does not release the operator from the obligation to surrender an amount of allowances equal to the quantity of emissions for which allowances were not surrendered when surrendering allowances in relation to the following year.

Administration of the registry in Malta

In Malta, the role of National Registry Administrator is held by the MRA.

If you are an operator of a stationary installation in Malta or are an aircraft operator administered byMalta, your account shall be opened and administered by the National Registry Administrator of Malta.  You should contact MRA for information regarding the procedures to open an operator/aircraft operator holding account and any other queries relating to the registry system at: