Cap-and-invest auctions and market

Businesses that are covered under the Climate Commitment Act must obtain compliance instruments equal to their covered emissions.

There are two types of compliance instruments, each equal to one metric ton of carbon dioxide:

  • Emissions allowances that we issue.
  • Offset credits gained from investing in projects that help reduce carbon in the atmosphere.

Participating businesses can get emissions allowances by:

  • Purchasing them at quarterly auctions.
  • Trading with other cap-and-invest program participants.
  • Receiving them directly from us — for certain businesses, as specified in the CCA.

Cap-and-invest help desks

For any other questions about the cap-and-invest program, or for media requests, please direct inquires to the point of contact found at the bottom of this page.

Auctions FAQ

Auction and trading platform information

In December 2021, Washington joined the Western Climate Initiative, Inc. (WCI), the nonprofit that provides the auction platform for the linked programs in California and Québec, as well as the stand-alone program in Nova Scotia.

We held our first quarterly auction on Feb. 28, 2023. To participate in an auction or to trade allowances, businesses and individuals must set up an account in the Compliance Instrument Tracking System Service (CITSS).

You can find resources, trainings, and forms needed to register in CITSS and particpate in auctions on our Auctions trainings and resources page.

Program compliance

At the end of each four-year compliance period, participating emitters must submit "compliance instruments" — emissions allowances and offset credits, if applicable — equal to their covered emissions for all four years.

In addition, by November 1 of each year, participants must submit compliance instruments equal to 30% of their emissions for the prior year. At the end of the four-year compliance period, businesses must submit allowances to cover the remaining 70% of their total emissions for the entire period.

For example, in the first compliance period (2023-2026) the compliance schedule looks like this:

  • Nov. 1, 2024: 30% of 2023 emissions
  • Nov. 1, 2025: 30% of 2024 emissions
  • Nov. 1, 2026: 30% of 2025 emissions
  • Nov. 1, 2027: 30% of 2026 emissions, plus the remaining 70% of all 2023-2026 emissions

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.