Exemption from the CO2 levy

To protect competitiveness, greenhouse gas-intensive plants are exempted from the CO2 tax if they commit to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions in return. Operators of large greenhouse gas-intensive plants participate in the emissions trading scheme and are also exempted from the CO2 levy.

Depending on the size of the plant, an operator has different options:

  • Small and medium-sized installations that are engaged in an activity referred to in Annex 7 of the CO2 Ordinance and are not participating in the emissions trading scheme can enter into a reduction commitment.
  • Medium-sized installations with an installed capacity of between 10 and 20 MW that are engaged in an activity listed in Annex 7 of the CO2 Ordinance can voluntarily participate in the Swiss emissions trading scheme (ETS).
  • Larger installations that carry out an activity referred to in Annex 6 of the CO2 Ordinance are required to participate in the Swiss emissions trading scheme. Usually, these are installations with an installed total rated thermal input of 20 MW and more.

Exemption with reduction commitment

Economic sectors that would be heavily burdened by the CO2 levy in relation to their value added and whose international competitiveness would be impaired can be exempted. In return they commit themselves to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions (reduction commitment). The relevant sectors of the economy are referred to in Annex 7 of the CO2 Ordinance.

The Confederation exempts an installation operator upon request. In return the installation operator commits to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions without interruption. The reduction path over the commitment period 2013-2020 will be continued on a linear basis for the year 2021. In addition to in-house measures, an installation operator can have foreign certificates counted to a limited extent. If the reduction target is significantly exceeded, the Confederation may issue attestations under certain conditions. The attestations can be sold but cannot be counted towards the operator's own reduction commitment.

Emissions target

All installation operators that belong to a sector of the economy referred to in Annex 7 of the CO2 Ordinance and emit more than 100 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year can be exempted in accordance with a simplified procedure with an emissions target. This determines the quantity of greenhouse gases that the installation operator may emit during the commitment period. The emissions target is calculated from the starting point along a linear reduction course to the end point.

Only installation operators that apply for individual emissions target conduct a systematic analysis. The individual reduction course is derived on the basis of an economically viable reduction potential.

Measures target for small installations

Installation operators with emissions of no more than 1,500 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year can be exempted from the levy in accordance with a simplified model: instead of a reduction course economically viable measures (measures target) are determined in a standardised procedure. In determining whether the target has been reached, the only relevant factor is whether the measures have been implemented.

Exemption for operators of fossil fuel-based combined heat and power plants

Since 2018, operators of fossil fuel-based combined heat and power plants (CHP plants) may be exempted from the CO2 levy on fossil fuels that they use for electricity production. This rule applies to plants with a rated thermal input of 0.5 to 20 MW.

Further information

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Last modification 01.02.2021

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