Medium Combustion Plant (MCP) Directive

Medium Combustion Plant (MCP) Directive

Medium Combustion Plant (MCP) Directive

As from 20 December 2018, the requirements of the Medium Combustion Plant (MCP) Directive (2015/2193/EC) started to bite. Operators of MCP, together with operators of specified generators (plant used for short periods to meet energy supply contracts) must ensure that their kit meets emission limits specified in the MCP Directive, otherwise it won’t be allowed to operate.

Could this affect you? If you may need advice, read on – and contact our specialist team to find out more.

The MCP Directive was published on the 25 November 2015 and concerns the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants. It was introduced to control emissions from combustion equipment between 1MW and 50MW thermal input. The MCP Directive will fill the unregulated gap that exists at EU level between smaller appliances (less than 1MW) and large combustion plants (over 50MW). All owners and operators of boilers, gas turbines and engines between 1MW and 50MW (net rated thermal input) will now have to have a permit for the equipment and activities within the scope of the MCP Directive.

The Directive places limits on the concentrations of sulfur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOX), and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in exhaust gases from affected plant with operating hours above a defined threshold. These emissions limit values (ELVs) vary according to the type of plant and the fuel used, but the general aim is to reduce the background levels of these harmful substances. The MCP Directive applies to new and existing equipment.

As an extension to the MCP Directive, the need for regulatory controls on generators has resulted from changes in the UK electricity supply industry arising from emission controls on large combustion plant, decarbonisation of the industry and changes to the electricity market. This has resulted in a need for smaller generating plant that may operate for relatively few hours but which, without emission controls, can have emission levels that are well above the MCP Directive limits. There may also be potential impacts on nearby population or other sensitive receptors. To address this issue, legislation to transpose the MCP Directive into legislation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has included additional controls on ‘specified generators’ (SG). In effect, the SG controls extend the scope of the MCP Directive controls and emission limits to electricity generating plant – where the MCP Directive does not apply or is only partially applicable. Depending on an operator’s plant/activity, there are significant permitting and compliance deadlines that need to be met for continued operation.  

Ricardo can advise operators on their requirements under the MCP Directive and the Specified Generator Regulations by:

  • Helping to determine compliance options and preparing applications for environmental permits for MCP and/or SG – advising on compliance options for MCP and SG, including cessation of generation if compliance is not feasible, ensuring you get the correct type of environmental permit for your plant/activity, and saving you time and energy in compiling the necessary paperwork.
  • Advising about deadlines for new and existing plants – keeping you up to date with the relevant legislation to help you meet all your regulatory obligations for permitting deadlines.
  • Providing site-specific air quality risk assessments for MCP/SG as part of the application process –reducing the risk of non-compliance and providing consistency throughout the whole application process.
  • Checking whether additional requirements are needed (e.g. secondary abatement plant – helping you to identify special requirements early and avoid costly upgrades later).
  • Advising about site-specific monitoring requirements and provisions – helping you to meet your regulatory obligations.