Guidance

Energy efficiency standards for industrial plants to get environmental permits

Find out the energy efficiency requirements you must comply with, and how to comply, to operate under an environmental permit.

You need to follow energy efficiency measures to get and comply with environmental permits for industrial plants listed as Part A(1) installations under Schedule 1 of the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010 (and any subsequent amendments). This includes power plants, waste incinerators and other industrial processes.

You need to show the Environment Agency that you’ll operate your installation using these energy efficiency measures in your application when you apply for an environmental permit.

Basic energy efficiency measures

You must show the Environment Agency that you operate under the following basic energy efficiency measures:

You’ll also need to show you follow these basic energy efficiency measures when the Environment Agency review your permits. This happens when new ‘best available techniques’ (BAT) reference documents are published for your sector.

If your installation operates under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) but is not generating energy from fossil fuels (such as a cement plant) you only need to follow these basic energy efficiency measures.

Operating under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and generating energy from fossils fuels

If your installation operates under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and produces energy from fossil fuels, for example power stations or boilers, in addition to the basic energy efficiency measures, you need to show the Environment Agency that you:

  • have designed your plant to maximise energy efficiency when you apply for a permit, taking into account any ‘cross-media effects’
  • operate your plant in a way that maximises energy efficiency, for example by using techniques to reduce energy consumption during standby periods

An example of ‘cross-media effects’ could be if you’re proposing to use a once-through river water cooling system. In this case, you’d need to compare the system’s energy efficiency benefits to any negative impacts like increased water usage and any increases in the temperature of the river.

Once the plant is in operation, you must monitor the energy efficiency of the plant using a method that you’ve agreed with the Environment Agency. You must also send the Environment Agency an annual report showing:

  • how you have operated your plant to maximise energy efficiency
  • the data from your energy efficiency monitoring with an explanation of the results, for example, the reasons for any variation in efficiency compared to previous years or variations within the year
  • any energy efficiency improvements you’ve identified that you can make, including opportunities for combined heat and power

Not operating under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme

If you do not operate under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, in addition to the basic energy efficiency measures, you need to show the Environment Agency that you operate under the following energy efficiency requirements.

Operating under a climate change agreement (CCA)

If you’re building a new installation, you’ll need to show in your application that your installation will meet:

If you have an existing installation, following publication of a new BREF for your sector, in line with the government position, the Environment Agency will assess whether CCAs are substantially delivering the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) energy efficiency requirements for your sector. When they start your permit review, they’ll tell you if you need to show that you meet BAT.

Not operating under a climate change agreement

You need to show the Environment Agency that you operate within BAT.

If you’re building a new installation, you’ll need to show in your application that your installation will meet:

If you have an existing installation, you’ll also need to show that you meet these requirements when the Environment Agency reviews your permits after the publication of a new BREF for your sector.

Cost benefit assessment

You might need to carry out a cost benefit assessment to show that your chosen options for energy efficiency meet the BAT requirements. You should discuss this with the Environment Agency when you’re applying for your permit.

Additional requirements for new and substantially refurbished combustion plants

If you’re planning a new power station or energy from waste plant then you will need to make sure you comply with the Environment Agency’s CHP-Ready guidance.

You may have to carry out a cost benefit assessment for operating as a high-efficiency cogeneration plant or supplying a district heating or cooling network with waste heat if you’re planning:

  • a new combustion plant (including power stations and energy from waste plants) which has a total net thermal input of more than 20 megawatts
  • to substantially refurbish an existing combustion plant with a total net thermal input of more than 20 megawatts
  • a new medium combustion plant with a total aggregated net thermal input of 20 to 50 megawatts

‘New combustion plant’ means a combustion plant where the operator made an application for an environmental permit on or after 21 March 2015.

‘Substantially refurbished’ means a refurbishment whose costs exceed 50% of the investment cost for a new comparable unit.

‘New medium combustion plant’ means a medium combustion plant which started operating on or after 20 December 2018.

‘Total aggregated net thermal input’ means the total of the net rated thermal inputs of all the individual combustion units operated on the same site.

This is a requirement of Article 14 of the Energy Efficiency Directive. Contact the Environment Agency for guidance on how to comply.

Contact the Environment Agency

General enquiries

National Customer Contact Centre
PO Box 544
Rotherham
S60 1BY

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Due to the current health emergency we have reduced the times our phone lines are open. This is under review and we hope to be able to extend them soon. If possible please contact us by email at enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk.

The impact of COVID-19 on our teams means you may experience some delays in responses as most of our staff will be working from home. We are currently unable to deal with post sent to our offices in the usual way.

Published 1 February 2016
Last updated 15 July 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated section 'Additional requirements for new and substantially refurbished combustion plants' to include the requirements for medium combustion plant.

  2. First published.