Auctions trainings and resources
Started in February 2023, we hold quarterly auctions where businesses and individuals participating in Washington's cap-and-invest program can buy emissions allowances. To participate in these auctions, you must complete the following five steps:
Below, you will find trainings, guides, and other resources you will need to complete this process.
Secure auctions help desk
For any questions about auction registration — especially those that include non-public personal or corporate information — please contact our auctions team's secure mailbox at RegistrarCCA@ecy.wa.gov or call 360-407-6296.
CITSS onboarding — Steps 1 & 2
The Compliance Instrument Tracking System Service (CITSS) is the online platform that provides accounts for market participants to hold and trade compliance instruments (emissions allowances and offset credits). All auction and market participants must set up an account in CITSS.
CITSS accounts are also required in order to receive allocation of no-cost allowances for EITEs, natural gas utilities, and electric utilities.
Step 1 – User registration
User registration in CITSS is the first step in the CITSS onboarding process. User registration applies to you as an individual CITSS user, not the entity you may be representing or bidding on behalf of in cap-and-invest auctions. Some of the required information will be used to verify your identity, which helps us ensure a safe and secure marketplace.
If you are already registered in CITSS in another jurisdiction, such as California, please refer to the Cross-Jurisdiction User Form, linked below.
Each entity needs to have at least two approved CITSS users registered before they will be able to begin Step 2 — Entity account application.
Module 1 – All users
This training walks through the entire user registration process in CITSS — including for cross-jurisdiction users — from document completion to acceptable forms of signature and submission.
Commonly asked questions
Once you submit your online registration form and exit the page, your account is considered pending. You will not be able to regain access until your account has been approved.
If you forgot to download your User Registration Form 2, we can send it to you. Just email RegistrarCCA@ecy.wa.gov to let us know.
Yes, you will need to complete the cross-jurisdiction user process. First, you will need to complete the CITSS Cross-Jurisdiction User Form, which gives your original jurisdiction of registration permission to share your CITSS user profile with us.
CITSS is the platform used to track allowance purchases and sales and to transfer allowances to us to cover business' emissions. Even if you receive allowances for free, we still have to transfer those allowances to your CITSS account when they are allocated. When it's time to turn in allowances to cover your emissions, you will transfer the appropriate number of allowances back to us from within the CITSS platform.
You also need a CITSS account in order to trade allowances with other market participants, even if you never bid in an auction. If you have allowances you wish to sell to another participant, for example, they must be transferred between your CITSS accounts.
Keeping all these transactions accounted for in one system helps keep the market secure by ensuring that the same set of rules apply to everyone.
Step 2 – Entity account application
Once your entity has two approved CITSS users, you will be able to submit an entity account application for Washington. The information submitted in this step of the CITSS onboarding process pertains to the entity you represent — which could be a covered or opt-in business, or a general market participant, like an investment company or an individual investor. The required forms include information about the entity's corporate associations and ownership structure.
All entities need to have new CITSS accounts for Washington, even if your entity already has an account in another CITSS jurisdiction (California, Québec, or Nova Scotia). Cross-jurisdiction users may begin the process of adding a Washington entity as soon as your Cross-Jurisdiction User Form has been submitted.
Module 2a – Covered and opt-in entities
This training walks through the entity account application process — including the addition of individual facilities — for covered and opt-in entities.
Module 2b – General market participants (coming soon)
This training walks through the entity account application process for general market participants. This includes organizations, such as financial institutions and offset project developers, as well as individual investors.
Download the Module 2b training slides
This training will be live on our website soon. In the meantime, you can email us for a link to the recording.
Commonly asked questions
Yes, you need to create separate entity accounts in CITSS for Washington. Ecology does not have access to your California, Québec, or Nova Scotia facility or entity information in CITSS.
Do not select that your facility already exists in CITSS.
Each business registered in Washington is assigned a Unified Business Identifier, or UBI. This information is required to complete your CITSS entity account application.
If you do not know what your entity’s UBI is, reach out to the Washington Secretary of State's office or the Department of Revenue to request this information.
CITSS account management
If you have already completed Steps 1 & 2, but need to make changes to your account, you can find the necessary forms below.
WCI auction platform onboarding — Steps 3, 4, and 5
The WCI auction platform is new to Washington. We recently held our first training aimed at helping auction participants understand how to use this new platform. This training covered the last three steps in the auction registration process:
- Step 3 – Apply to participate in an auction.
- Step 4 – Activate your auction platform account.
- Step 5 – Submit your bid guarantee.
Auction participant training
This training covers Steps 3–5 of the auction onboarding process, outlined above.
Please note: Your CITSS user registration and entity account application Steps 1 and 2 must both be approved before you can apply to participate in an auction, Step 3.
Download the auction training slides
Additional auction information
In addition to this training, there are a number of useful documents on the WCI auction platform, including detailed bidding instructions and auction examples. You can find links to these documents in the dropdown below.
You can also access them directly on the auction platform webpage. Simply click "FAQs and resources" in the upper right corner, select "Washington" from the menu, and click the "Resources" tab.
Commonly asked questions
No. You only need to apply for an auction if you intend to place a bid. If you do not intend to participate, please do not apply.
However, you will still need a CITSS account to buy, sell, or trade allowances with other market participants, even if you never participate in an auction.
Your bid guarantee should be large enough to cover the total cost of all the allowances for which you intend to bid. One way to estimate this is to multiply the number of allowances you wish to purchase by the highest amount you are willing to bid.
Any amount of your bid guarantee that is not used to pay for allowances will be returned to you after the auction.
For more information, please see the Auctions examples resources on the WCI auction platform.
A note about the auction application window
At least 60 days prior to each auction, we will publish an Auction Notice announcing the auction date and time, the number of allowances available for sale, and other important information. You will be able to find these documents in the Auction Notices tab of the More Information section, below.
The "auction application window" for a given auction opens on the same day this notice is issued and closes exactly 30 days before the auction. If you would like to participate in an auction, you must submit your application within this timeframe. You will not be able to submit an auction application unless your CITSS User Registration and Entity Account Application have been approved.
Please read each Auction Notice, once published, for more details on timelines, dates, and requirements. Sign up for our Auctions and Trading Market email list to receive email alerts when Auction Notices are posted.
Using the WCI auction platform
In preparation for the first auction, we provided this additional video resource to help participants learn how to use the auction platform.
Please note that these trainings are intended as additions to, and not replacements for, the many other resources provided above under the WCI auction platform resources dropdown.
Practice bidding demonstration
This video covers the steps account representatives will take in the WCI auction platform to place bids during the bidding window.
We recommend that all auction participants review the documents noted above before viewing this demonstration, attending the walkthrough webinar, or participating in auctions.
Live auction platform walkthrough
In addition to the resources above, we also held a webinar where attendees had the opportunity to present questions in a live, interactive setting.
To preserve auction participant privacy and market security, webinar participants submitted questions anonymously, and our staff demonstrated auction platform capabilities in real time. If you were not able to attend this webinar, please contact us at CCAAuctions@ecy.wa.gov to request access to the recording.
We also continue to offer confidential, one-on-one support to anyone who intends to participate in cap-and-invest auctions.
The CCA directs us to auction allowances from the current year's budget as well as from the budgets of future years. The "vintage" of an allowance refers to the budget year to which that allowance was originally assigned.
For example, in 2023, we will auction 10% of the allowances from 2026 — which means about 5 million more allowances will be sold at auction in the first year of the program. In this example, 2023 allowances are "current vintage" and 2026 allowances are "future vintage."
Banked allowances, on the other hand, are allowances of any vintage that an entity is saving in their CITSS account for future use, rather than using them to cover their current emissions. They could choose to use them later to cover emissions in a future year or sell them to other market participants to generate revenue.
Yes. Allowances do not expire and can be "banked" — which means you can hold them in your account for use in the future, as long as you don't exceed the holding limit.
Allowances from any year can be used to cover emissions in that year or a future year, but you can't use future vintage allowances to cover current emissions. See the first question in this section for information about "future vintage" allowances.
This means you can save 2023 allowances to cover emissions in 2024 and beyond, but you can't use 2027 vintage allowances, for example, to cover emissions from 2023 to 2026.
Yes, anyone with an approved CITSS account can buy and sell allowances and offset credits with other market participants. These transactions happen within the CITSS platform, but we do not regulate or administer allowance trading the way we do our quarterly auctions.
If you represent a covered or opt-in entity that has a compliance obligation, it's important to remember that only allowances in your holding account can be traded. Once you transfer allowances to your compliance account, they can only be used to cover your emissions and can't be transfered back to your holding account.
Electric and natural gas utilities that receive no-cost allowances can "consign" allowances to auction — which means to give them back — so we can auction them on their behalf. Consigned allowances are sold at the same settlement price as all other allowances sold at that auction.
Revenue from the sale of these allowances is given back to the utility that consigned them. Different consignment requirements apply to natural gas and electric utilities, but the law specifies that these funds must be used to benefit the utilities' customers.
Due to allocations timelines, we will not sell any consigned allowances in the first two auctions of 2023.
Notices and reports
Starting in 2023, we'll host four auctions a year, each consisting of a single round of bidding by auction participants. We'll announce the dates of upcoming auctions at least 60 days in advance on our webpage and to subscribers of the auctions and trading updates email list.
2023 auction notices
After each quarterly auction, we will post an Auction Summary Report outlining information about the settlement price and number of allowances sold. A few weeks later, we'll also post a Public Proceeds Report confirming the amount of revenue raised by the auction and a rolling tally of all auction proceeds since the beginning of the program on Jan. 1, 2023.
You can also sign up to receive auction and trading updates via email to be notified when we issue these reports.
Electric Utilities (2023-2026)
Allowance allocations for EITEs and natural gas utilities will be posted in this tab once available.