Exemption from the CO2 levy subject to a reduction commitment: step by step

Installation operators from sectors of the economy that have a high tax burden in relation to their value, and whose international competitiveness would be greatly undermined as a result, can be exempted from the CO2 levy. In return they commit themselves to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. The installation operators must submit an application for exemption from the levy to the FOEN.

Important: Operators of installations with a total rated thermal input of more than 20 MW or an-other activity according to Annex 6 of the currently valid CO2 Ordinance of 30.11.2012 (Status as of 1.1.2020) are generally obliged to participate in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). 

The most important points step by step:

CO2-Abgabebefreiung ohne Emissionshandel

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This publication does not exist in English. It is available in other languages. 2019


1. Can I get my installations exempted?

To be able to take on a reduction commitment and be exempted from the levy, the installation operator must:

  • be engaged in an activity referred to in Annex 7 of the CO2 Ordinance;
  • have at least 60 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions caused by this activity;
  • account for more than 100 tonnes CO2eq emissions in one of the preceding two years.

No reduction commitment can be concluded for the year 2021.


2. What are the system limits for exemption from the levy?

The system limits of the reduction commitment are defined by the installation operator's geographical perimeter and the relevant greenhouse gas emissions.

The perimeter is comprised of one or more fixed installations that are operated at the same closed production site. Several installation operators can take on a common commitment.

The following greenhouse gas emissions are included in the commitment:

  • CO2 emissions from the combustion of standard fossil fuels and fossil waste fuels;
  • geogenic CO2 process emissions;
  • fossil CO2 process emissions, e.g., from the production of steel;
  • N2O emissions, e.g., from the production of nitric acid;
  • Perfluorocarbons from the production of primary aluminium.

3. With which model can I get my installations exempted?

According to each individual situation, various exemption models are available to installation operators:

Emissions target set individually: An emissions target determines the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in tonnes CO2eq that the installation operator may emit during the second commitment period. The emissions target is calculated from the starting point of the installations’ actual greenhouse gas emissions using a linear reduction course to the end point in the year 2020. The reduction course is based on an economically viable reduction potential which is systematically derived from a proposed target.

Emissions target simply determined: For an installation operator that was already exempted from the CO2 levy in the first commitment period and whose exemption continued without interruption in 2013, the emissions target can be calculated on the basis of a simplified determination of the reduction course. The installations’ actual greenhouse gas emissions form the basis from which they must be reduced by 15% no later than 2020. The increased efficiencies from the first commitment period are also taken into account, whereby the creditable impact of the increased efficiency is reduced by eight equal parts until 2020.

Measures target for small installations: Operators of small installations may apply for a measures target. The benchmark is emissions of no more than 1,500 tonnes CO2eq per year. The absolute measures target in tonnes CO2eq includes a list of economically viable measures that must be implemented by 2020. The installations’ reduction potential is to be systematically derived as the basis for the list of measures in a proposed target.


4. How is an application for exemption from the levy or an extension of the deadline submitted?

An installation operator that wants to be exempted from the CO2 levy must submit to the FOEN an application for exemption from the levy or an extension of the deadline, in each case before the expiration of the deadline of 1 September. Upon request the FOEN typically grants an extension of 6 months. For an exemption from the levy starting 1 January 2020 the application must thus be submitted by 1 September 2019 and the deadline is typically extended until 1 March 2020.

No application for a reduction commitment can be submitted for the year 2021.

The application for exemption from the levy includes:

  • administrative data and geographic perimeter;
  • emission data and production indicators;
  • choice of model;
  • proposed target;
  • a monitoring plan for installations that have other relevant emissions in addition to the CO2 emissions from the combustion of standard fossil fuels.

The application for an extension of the deadline includes:

  • administrative data and geographic perimeter;
  • emission data and production indicators;
  • choice of model.

You need to download the free software Snapform to fill in the form. You can download the program at the following link:

Please submit the completed application form for exemption from the levy or an extension of the deadline by e-mail to cola.request@bafu.admin.ch. In addition, please send the signed application form by mail to: Bundesamt für Umwelt BAFU; Sektion Umsetzung CO2-Gesetz; Gesuch auf Abgabebefreiung, 3003 Bern.

Installation operators can obtain support for establishing the proposed targets (esp. if the proposed target for the exemption from the levy is being developed in conjunction with a voluntary target agreement). The Confederation has transferred this cost-based enforcement support to the following organisations within the framework of an open WTO procedure:

  • Energie-Agentur der Wirtschaft EnAW for the development, implementation and monitoring of proposed targets for the exemption from the levy;
  • Energie-Agentur der Wirtschaft EnAW and act Cleantech Agentur Schweiz for the development, implementation and monitoring of voluntary target agreements;
  • Energie-Agentur der Wirtschaft EnAW and act Cleantech Agentur Schweiz for the development, implementation and monitoring of voluntary target agreements with emissions targets in accordance with the CO2 legislation.

An installation operator with an emissions target is free to develop the proposed target with the tools and support of the EnAW or to commission a third party such as act for that purpose.

Installation operators that provide advice for the development of emissions targets by act can use act's tool for annual monitoring. For installation operators that develop the proposed target with the EnAW or a third party, the EnAW makes the tool for annual monitoring available for a fee.

Installation operators with measures targets must develop proposed targets and annual monitoring with the tools commissioned by the Confederation from EnAW for that purpose.


5. How is the decision made by the FOEN?

The FOEN examines the application and decides about the exemption from the levy and the emissions target – or the measures target in the case of operators with small installations – by ruling.

Further information

Contact
Last modification 04.05.2020

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