Large combustion plants operating in Europe

Indicator Specification
Indicator codes: INDP 001
Created 17 Feb 2017 Published 19 Apr 2017 Last modified 19 Apr 2017
This indicator provides a profile of the number of LCPs operating in Europe, their installed capacity and the mix of fuels they use. It is based on data from 2004 onwards. The geographical coverage comprises the EU-28 countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom). The temporal coverage is 2004-2014 (the most recent year with officially reported emissions; EEA, 2016a).

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)

Rationale

Justification for indicator selection

LCPs use large amounts of fuels, mostly fossil fuels, to produce useful forms of energy. These plants generate a number of residues and waste products, and large amounts of emissions to all environmental media. The aim of the LCP Directive is to reduce the emissions of acidifying pollutants, particulate matter and ozone precursors. Emissions from LCPs constitute a large proportion of total anthropogenic emissions. In 2014, LCP emissions of SO2 and NO­x contributed 45 % and 15 %, respectively, to total EU-28 emissions of these pollutants (see Data specifications).

The capacity and fuel mix profile of the LCP sector provides a context for the environmental pressures it generates. These pressures are tracked in indicator IND002.

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

This indicator provides a profile of the number of LCPs operating in Europe, their installed capacity and the mix of fuels they use. It is based on data from 2004 onwards. The geographical coverage comprises the EU-28 countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

The temporal coverage is 2004-2014 (the most recent year with officially reported emissions; EEA, 2016a).

Units

Total fuel consumption — terajoules (TJ)/year or gigajoules (GJ)/year.

Rated thermal input — megawatt thermal (MWth) or gigawatt thermal (GWth).

Policy context and targets

Context description

The EU has had a policy on emissions from combustion plants since the 1980s. Between 2004 and 2013, two pieces of EU law were in place: the LCP Directive (EC, 2001) and the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive (EC, 2008). EU law imposed specific emission 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 Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) (EC, 2010).

The aim of the EU policy on LCPs is to reduce emissions to air, water and land, including measures related to waste, in order to achieve a high level of protection of the environment as a whole. The focus for LCPs is to reduce their emissions of acidifying pollutants, particles and ozone precursors.

Legal instruments that address emissions from large combustion plants

Emissions from LCPs are subject to several EU-wide regulations:

  • The LCP Directive (EC, 2001): this set emission limit values for SO2, NOx and dust from combustion plants with a rated thermal input of 50 MW or more.
  • The IED (EC, 2010): IED permits use an integrated approach to whole environmental performance. For LCPs, and several other activities, the IED sets emission limit values for SO2, NOx and dust. Permit conditions, including emission limit values, are based on best available techniques (BATs). According to the IED, a site visit must take place at least every 1-3 years. On 1 January 2016, the IED replaced the LCP Directive.
  • The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) (EC, 2006a): for plants with activities over certain thresholds, they must report to the E-PRTR on releases of pollutants, off-site transfers of waste and pollutants in wastewater, and releases of pollutants from diffuse sources.

Permit conditions including emission limit values must be based on BATs. The term ‘best available techniques’ refers to the most effective, and economically and technically viable methods of operation that reduce emissions and the impact on the environment.

To define the BATs, the European Commission organises an exchange of information between Member State experts, industry and environmental organisations. This process results in the production of BAT reference documents (BREFs). Each BREF contains information on the techniques and processes used in a specific industrial sector in the EU, current emission and fuel consumption trends, and techniques to consider for the determination of BATs, as well as emerging techniques.

A BREF for LCPs was adopted in July 2006 (EC, 2006b). It contains information on BATs for energy generation, combustion techniques from various fuel types, and processes and techniques for reducing emissions, including noise.

Targets

No target specified.

Related policy documents

Key policy question

What changes have occurred in the large combustion plant sector in the European Union?

Specific policy question

Which European Union Member States have the highest number of large combustion plants?

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

Queries are applied to the LCP database (EEA, 2016a) for the calculations necessary in this analysis. For each plant, total fuel consumption (a sum of fuel consumption from all fuel types) and capacity class (based on a plant's rated thermal input (MWth)) are calculated. Plants are grouped into five capacity classes: > 500 MWth, 301-500 MWth, 101-300 MWth, 50-100 MWth and < 50 MWth. The last of these (< 50 MWth) is excluded from this indicator.

Methodology for gap filling

Some data are considered outliers, reporting very high quantities for single years, and have been modified accordingly. The modifications made are available to view on the Eionet forum (1). If there is an erroneous spike in data between years, the data are set to be equal to the closest year if at the end of a time series. In some instances, a unit error is assumed.

(1) http://forum.eionet.europa.eu/etc-acm-consortium/library/subvention-2016/task-deliveries-ap2016/task-1222-industry-country-fiches-and-industrial-emissions-indicator/.-first-drafts-approval-eea/lcp-errors

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

Data specifications

EEA data references

Data sources in latest figures

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

This indicator covers the EU-28 countries. However, there are no data for Croatia for 2004-2009. Croatia data have not been gap-filled; in the years for which data for Croatia have been reported, the data account for less than 1 % of total EU-28 emissions and fuel consumption. This is, therefore, considered to cause only a minor distortion of the overall trend.

Data sets uncertainty

Although the 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

Bastian Zeiger

Ownership

European Environment Agency (EEA)

Identification

Indicator code
INDP 001
Specification
Version id: 1
Primary theme: Industry Industry

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?)

Related content

Data used

Latest figures and vizualizations

Relevant policy documents

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100