The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment sought views on transposition of the Medium Combustion Plant (MCP) Directive (Directive (EU) 2015/2193).
This consultation concluded on Friday 29 September 2017.
Please note that all submissions and comments submitted to the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment for this purpose may be subject to release under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 and/or the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 to 2014. Confidential or commercially sensitive information should be clearly marked as such.
Medium Combustion Plants
Medium combustion plants are used for a variety of purposes including electricity generation, providing heat for industrial processes, and commercial heating and cooling systems. They are plants which range in thermal input size from 1 megawatt (MWth) to 50 MWth. Plants larger than 50 MWth are regulated under the Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EC), while the Ecodesign Directive (2009/125/EC) regulates emissions from smaller plants, up to 500kWth output (for installations falling between the scopes of the two sets of legislation, no EU emissions standards apply).
Medium combustion plants can be a source of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and dust emissions. The European Commission estimates that there are approximately 143,000 medium combustion plants across the EU.
The MCP Directive
Directive (EU) 2015/2193 of the European Parliament and the Council of 25 November 2015 on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants entered into force on 18 of December 2015 and will have to be transposed by Member States by 19 December 2017. It regulates emissions of SO2, NOx and dust which arise from the combustion of fuel in plants with a thermal input between 1 megawatt and 50 megawatts. The provisions of the Directive apply from 18 December 2018 for all new plants and from 2025 or 2030 for existing plants, depending on size. A timeline for implementation of the Directive is set out in Figure 1 below.
Under the Directive, most medium sized combustion plants will only be allowed to operate when registered or permitted, and when complying with emission limit values for SO2, NOx and dust. The Directive also sets out the requirement for periodic monitoring of medium combustion plants to take place. Annex II of the Directive specifies limits for emissions of SO2, NOx and dust which depend on size of plant, age and type of fuel used. Plants must also monitor carbon monoxide (CO) periodically, and the Commission will determine by 1 January 2023 whether CO emissions will be added to the list of controlled emissions.
Main Provisions of the Directive
The Directive requires Member States to ensure that a medium combustion plant is registered or permitted before it can be operated. There are different deadlines for registration or permitting depending on the age and size of the plant. The Directive also sets emission limit values (ELVs) for plant. The emission limit values vary according to the age and size of the plant. In zones that are not compliant with the air quality standards of the CAFÉ Directive (Directive 2008/50/EC), Member States must assess the need to apply stricter ELVs for individual plants than are set out in the MCP Directive. Ireland is proposing to operate a register for smaller MCP, and to have a permitting system for larger MCP. The threshold between registration and permitting is to be determined. It is proposed that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be the Competent Authority for the implementation of the MCPD, as the EPA is already the competent authority for the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), Large Combustion Plant (LCP) Directive and the Emissions Trading (ETS) scheme which all have emissions permitting registration and licensing requirements associated with them.
A number of obligations are placed on plant operators by the Directive, including obligations to monitor emissions and provide information to the competent authority.