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Indicator Specification

Emissions and energy use in large combustion plants in Europe

Indicator Specification
  Indicator codes: INDP 006
Published 01 Jun 2021 Last modified 01 Jun 2021
8 min read
This indicator tracks trends for the so-called Large Combustion Plants' (LCPs) emissions of SO 2 , NO x and dust, as well as the evolution of the energy mix used in these plants since 2004. LCPs comprise industrial combustion plants with a total rated thermal input equal to or greater than 50 MW. The geographical coverage comprises the 27 EU Member States (EU-27) (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden). The temporal coverage is 2004-2019. Data for the period 2004-2015 were reported under Directive 2001/80/EC on large combustion plants, while for 2016 onwards they were reported under Directive 2010/75/EU on industrial emissions. The requirements are not identical, and it is expected for data from 2016 onwards to have a slightly broader scope in terms of plants included.

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)
 

Rationale

Justification for indicator selection

 No rationale has been identified for this indicator

 

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

This indicator tracks trends for the so-called Large Combustion Plants' (LCPs) emissions of SO2, NOx and dust, as well as the evolution of the energy mix used in these plants since 2004. LCPs comprise industrial combustion plants with a total rated thermal input equal to or greater than 50 MW.

The geographical coverage comprises the 27 EU Member States (EU-27) (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden).

The temporal coverage is 2004-2019. Data for the period 2004-2015 were reported under Directive 2001/80/EC on large combustion plants, while for 2016 onwards they were reported under Directive 2010/75/EU on industrial emissions. The requirements are not identical, and it is expected for data from 2016 onwards to have a slightly broader scope in terms of plants included.

Units

SO2, NOx and dust emissions — kilotonnes (kt)/year, percentage reduction

Total fuel consumption — terajoules (TJ)/year

Rated thermal input — megawatt thermal (MWth)

 

Policy context and targets

Context description

Anthropogenic emissions of SO2, NOx and dust all contribute to air quality problems in Europe. Excess deposition of sulphur and nitrogen compounds can lead to disturbances in the functioning and structure of ecosystems by, for example, causing the acidification of soils and waters as well as, in the case of nitrogen, the eutrophication of nutrient-poor ecosystems such as grasslands.

LCPs use large amounts of fuels, mostly fossil fuels, to produce useful forms of energy. These plants inevitably generate a number of residues, waste products and emissions to all environmental media (air, water and soil). Emissions from LCPs constitute a significant proportion of total anthropogenic emissions and are considered one of the main environmental pressures from LCPs.

In that context, policy has regulated these plants for decades now. Between 2004 and 2015, two pieces of EU law were in place: the LCP Directive and the IPPC Directive. This EU legislation imposed specific limit values on emissions of NOx, SO2 and dust from plants with a thermal rated input equal to or greater than 50 MW. Since 1 January 2016, this legislation has been replaced by the IED (EC, 2010).

The aim of EU policy on LCPs is to reduce emissions to air, water and land, including measures related to waste, to achieve a high level of protection of the environment as a whole. The focus with regard to LCPs is to reduce emissions of acidifying pollutants, particles and ozone precursors while also covering other environmental concerns (e.g. mercury emissions).

Targets

No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified

Key policy question

Emissions and energy use in large combustion plants in Europe, aggregated level assessment

Specific policy question

Emissions and energy use in large combustion plants in Europe, disaggregated level assessment

 

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

Queries are applied to the Industrial Emissions Database to extract and aggregate emissions reported individually for each LCP in Europe to produce Figure 1. In a similar manner, queries extract and aggregate fuel use data to produce Figure 2.

Fig. 1: Emissions are indexed with reference to 2004 levels. The exact formula is: emissions of pollutant x for the current year/emissions for pollutant x in 2004) × 100.

Fig. 2: Total fuel consumptions per type are summed and provided in the graph. As the data were not reported in the same way before and after 2016, the category 'coal' is the result of the sum of all solid fuels reported.

Methodology for gap filling

No gap filling was performed

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

 

Data specifications

EEA data references

Data sources in latest figures

 

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

This indicator covers the EU-27 countries. However, there are no data for Croatia for 2004-2009. The data for Croatia have not been gap filled, and in the years of reporting Croatia contributed less than 1% of emissions and fuel consumption to the EU-27 total. This lack of data is thus considered a minor distortion of the overall trend.

As indicated, reporting requirements were not identical before and after 2016, which is also considered a minor distortion of the trend.

 

Data sets uncertainty

Although reporting requirements began in 2004, it is possible that the data for the first reported period (2004-2006) contain some gaps.

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified.

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Federico Antognazza

Ownership

European Environment Agency (EEA)

Identification

Indicator code
INDP 006
Specification
Version id: 3
Primary theme: Energy Energy

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled once per year

Classification

DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
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