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By David Boles
This past week saw the European Union complete their carbon inventories and receive the allowances from around 12,000 installations which fall under the EU Emission Trading Scheme. The commercials involved have submitted their mandated cap by the deadline specified by the European Commission, the 30th April. In total, 11.27 billion EUA's have been surrendered by the European Installations. European organisations have availed of the offset market to the tune of 277 million CER's (Clean Development Mechanism) and 23.39 million ERU's (Emission reduction units- Joint implementation Mechanism). If we take settlement prices, from the 29th April, the cost of spot EUA and spot CER on the ICE exchange were €16.86 and €13.43 respectively. The value of surrendered EUA's and CER'S for emissions under the European cap and trade system was €190 billion and €3.72 billion respectively. There has been a marked increase in the use of offset credits, i.e CER's for compliance in 2010 compared to previous years.
Analysts predict that a record number of CER's will be issued in 2011. The likely effect of this if it does transpire is that any price increases maybe somewhat stunted.In other News, the European Commission have announced that they will use encryption methods to conceal Carbon credit numbers in order to avoid the liquidity crunch that occurred over the compliance period. A period, which should be the most liquid time of the year. The cyber attacks linger on. The carbon market have suffered gravely due to these attacks and only surplus and free allocation have saved it from complete failure.
- The European Commission are to encrypt serial numbers on all carbon credits to ensure there is no repeat of the January 2011 cyber attacks.
- Emissions in Spain dropped by 3.7% in 2010.
By David Boles
The clever use of benchmarking has been integrated into the Californian Cap and Trade mechanism to enable the Air Resources Board to compare GHG emissions performance across similar industrial facilities. These benchmarks will be a key factor in deciding performance standards. Industrial facilities will be allocated free credits on product based GHG emission intensity benchmarks. This measure will favour the production of the least GHG intensive products, and will reward early action to produce a given product in the cleanest way possible. The basic premise is this, a facility that is more efficient than the predetermined benchmarks will receive extra allowances relative to their emission levels. Assistance will be provided to the various industrial sectors to allow for the transition into a carbon economy.
The Benchmarking system will use two benchmarks, Product based benchmark and an energy use benchmark. Product based benchmarks will be favoured wherever possible as it incorporates the complete life cycle of products. The following tables illustrates which facilities will use product based or energy use benchmarks.
Energy use benchmark:
Product based benchmark:
These measures will be enforced to encourage early action on GHG mitigation.
- Russian GHG emissions fall for the first time in 10 years.
- The Californian Air Resources Board deny any links with the EU-ETS.
- A recent report declares that Japanese emissions could rise by 10% by 2020.
- The EU-ETS is fully operational as of 3:00pm (CET) the 20 of April, after cyber attacks on the 19 of January.
By David Boles
The Californian Cap and Trade seems to be extraordinarily well designed. In order to protect the every day consumers of electricity,the developers of the program have a number of measures to protect the man on the street from bearing the full cost of the transition to a zero carbon economy. Allowances will be freely distributed to electrical distribution companies. In addition, Utilities must use their allowance value to reduce the cost ofAB32 policies on their ratepayers. The Air Resources Board (ARB) proposes that 89 million allowances from the 2012 cap be allocated to the distribution utilities free of charge. This allocation will decrease with time. The initial allocation was calculated by multiplying the sector's 2008 emission's (98.9 million tonnes CO2) by 0.9 to give the electricity distribution sector a total of 89 million. The free allocation to the distribution network will decline by 15% by 2020 and breaks down as follows:
The main motivation for these measures is to spread the cost of carbon through the retail and wholesale electricity market. The utilities will pay for of their emission allowances and will be the primary demand for allowances within the program. Waste to energy facilities are also lumped in which makes good common sense. The Industrial sector will have free allocations determined by their sensitivity to an embedded carbon price. Different industries will be allocated varying amounts based on comprehensive studies. It will be very difficult for Industry to pass on the cost of Carbon in the manner that utilities can. In order to protect Industry and maintain competitiveness and ease transition to a low carbon economy they will receive free allocations to cover Direct and indirect costs of their carbon cap. This is illustrated in the schematic below:
The underlying philosophy is to embed a carbon price in anything produced in the program's jurisdiction. The Industrial sector under this program will receive free allocations according to the following table:
By David Boles
The Californian cap and Trade started with a staff report at the air resources board as an Initial statement of Reasons Staff report on the 16th December 2010. The cap and trade sets its targets out to reach 1990 emission levels by 2020, followed by a 80% GHG reduction by 2050. The program is set to begin by 1st January 2012. California is joining forces with 6 other western U.S states and 4 Canadian provinces to form the Western Climate Initiative. The reasons for the regional cap and trade is that GHG mitigation as a whole will cost less than if California acted alone. The Air Resources Cap and Trade have gone to great lengths to ensure there is no Carbon leakage. This simply refers to entities relocating to regions that are not governed by the cap and trade system.
The Air Resources board (ARB) are in the enviable position where they can learn from the mistakes made by other cap and trade systems such as the European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU-ETS). An example of this would be the over allocation of free allowances through a grandfathering mechanism. Entities in the EU-ETS received massive windfalls through free allocations while they passed on the 'opportunity cost' to consumers. The ARB seeks to overcome these fundamental problems through a mixture of allowance auctioning and free allocation based on emission efficiency benchmarks with updating output measurements. The updating output measurement will be a major improvement on the EU-ETS as it will allow the cap and trade to evolve and take into account economic downturns. A similar mechanism in the EU-ETS would have rendered the system far more efficient, avoiding the massive surplus that was caused by the global economic downturn in 2008.
The ARB has proposed to allocate allowance value to four different categories in order to sustain and promote the Cap and Trade System:
- Enhancement of Market Operation- This involves putting aside a certain percentage of allowances in an Allowance Price Containment Reserve to enhance market operation by keeping allowance prices within a predetermined desirable range. In addition a set aside for forward auctioning to create a transparent long term signal.
- Protection of Utility Customers and Other AB32 Purposes, Allowances assigned to utilities will be auctioned and the proceeds used to protect Californian ratepayers against opportunity costs.
- Protection of Industry and Leakage Prevention- Allowances will be used to smooth the imposition of a carbon price on Californian Industry and minimize leakage.
- Protection of fuel provider Customers- A proportion of the allowances will be auctioned directly to ARB. This will increase over the years of the program as distributed fuel use is covered and the levels of free allowances to Industry are reduced. The main purpose of this is to protect the man on the street from any adverse impacts of the program.
The Illustration below shows the proposed distribution of Cumulative Allowance Value:
Although I have only lightly touched on the Cap and trade program to be adopted in California and other States in the Western Climate Initiative, the program is very commendable and it is great to see that they have learned and implemented strategies to overcome difficulties experienced by their predecessors.
- GreenX will resume spot Emissions Trade on the 11th April after the cyber attacks on the Czech Republic Registry on the 19th January.
- The European Commission seek earlier Auctions for Phase 3 Allowances.
- Chinese seek to peak emissions by 2030 according to recent Government Report.
- The Japanese Government are to rethink 2020 emission targets according to two Governmental ministers.
By David Boles
A long term effect on the price of carbon has evolved from the nuclear situation in Fukushima Dai-ichi, and has yet to be played out. German power prices jumped to the highest level in almost 2 years on Monday(rising 6.8% on the front year contract) when Merckel alluded to a shift away from Nuclear power, after electoral defeat at the hands of the Greens. If we take RWE( large player in European Utility market) as an example, they own two of the 7 Nuclear facilities closed by Merckel, which account for 35% of the country's 20.7 gigawatts of Nuclear power capacity. In 2010, RWE produced 164.9m3 of CO2. At current EUA Dec '13 future prices, this translates to a cost of €3.17 bn to cover their Carbon mandate in 2013. This figure will increase dramatically if their 2 nuclear plants are to close due to this power output being replaced by fossil fuels. This figure will increase dramatically if their 2 nuclear plants are to close permanently. The cost to the utilities will be reduced if the jump in power prices experienced this week is sustained.
The shortfall in power if nuclear plants remain closed is likely to be filled by a number of gas fired power stations that were put on hold when Merckel stretched the life cycles of nuclear plants last autumn out to 2035. Utilities have already moved on the changing energy landscape in Germany, Bremen Local Utilities last week said they will build a 445MW gas turbine plant to be ready for production by 2013. Gas is favourable over other fossil fuels as it produces less than half the CO2 of coal. Another added benefit to gas generation is its ability to be switched on and off quickly. This fits well with renewable generated electricity and their reliance on favourable weather patterns. Some analysts are predicting the role of 'bridging technology' (from fossil to renewables) that was once Nuclear's domain will now be replaced by gas. The fact that gas already has substantial infrastructure in place and ample supply is likely to support this theory.
Nuclear is not giving up without a fight and local media are reporting that EON and RWE are initiating legal proceedings, to counter any measures for the immediate closure of their nuclear plants. The French Government, so far have appeased any calls to shut any of their nuclear power load. Nuclear energy in France accounts for a much larger share of their energy mix, accounting for 80% of their electricity needs. This is comparable to a figure of 45% for Germany and 18% for the United Kingdom. The French are married to nuclear but the debate to exit Nuclear will no doubt heat up and all this will undoubtedly affect the European Energy and Emission landscape for some time to come.
- The US fall two places behind China and Germany for Renewable investment in 2010.
- On Tuesday the 29th of March Californian legislators passed a bill, requiring utilities to produce one third of their energy needs from renewable sources.
- Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland and Romania following a European Commission decision on Tuesday can now allocate free allowances to their power producers until 2019. This measure is to allow these Nations to modernise their power output.
- A Chinese airline has joined 3 American airlines in litigation proceedings against the European Commission over their Carbon mandate under the EU-ETS.
"I'd put my money on solar energy… I hope we don't have to wait til oil and coal run out before we tackle that."
—Thomas Edison, in conversation with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, March 1931
By David Boles
The United States of America are currently drafting and debating their energy policy. This follows what President Obama alluded to in his State of the Union address back in January. On March 21, Senator Jeff Bingaman and Lisa Murkowski published a White Paper on a Clean Energy Standard(CES). This paper is a response to Obama's target of 80% of US electricity be produced from renewables (RES-E) by 2035. The paper was presented to the senate, asking for feedback relating to nuclear Energy post the Japanese Nuclear crisis. The White paper is unusual for the US in so far as it lays out a multitude of questions regarding a Clean Energy Standard. The paper promotes a clean energy standard, outlining the benefits such as increased employment, a reduction in GHG's and other emissions as well as an increase in domestic manufacturing of associated technologies. Although, the renewable debate is nothing new to congress, (see the American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009 which proposed a 15% mandate on RES-E BY 2021). It seems that this is the first time that a Clean Energy Bill is considered in earnest. The Committee on Energy and Natural resources, through their White Paper have provided food for thought in order to arrive at a Clean Energy Standard that ticks all the boxes. In 2010, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), The United States obtained 20% of their electricity from nuclear plants, 10% from renewables which are defined as hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal and biomass, 25% from natural gas power plants and 45% from coal power plants. In real terms, the US have 10% RES-E, but under the president's proposal which includes Nuclear and attributes half credits to combined cycle natural gas plants, this figure jumps to 40% of its electricity from clean sources. However recent events in Japan have cast a long shadow over this synopsis. The EIA have published an Energy outlook up to 2035. It is estimated that electricity generation will increase by 20% by 2035, with the majority of new capacity to come from gas, which is predicted to hold its 25% Stake of the energy mix, throughout this period. RES-E is expected to grow to a 14% share. Nuclear was expected to add capacity but reduce its overall capacity to 17% by 2035, but this was pre- Fukushima. Coal Generation is expected to grow but decrease to a 42% share of the generation mix.
A number of key elements are outlined in order to promote healthy debate and achieve the most successful Clean Energy standard(CES) possible:
- What should the threshold be for inclusion in the Clean Energy Standard? Previous policies set a threshold of 4 million MW/hrs but Obama's CES proposal mentions no threshold and appears to be fully inclusive of all utilities.
- What Resources qualify as 'clean energy'? President's Obama's proposal seeks to include the likely suspects of hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal and biomass as well as nuclear plants, coal plants with carbon capture and storage (CCS) and highly efficient gas plants without CCS. Past proposals have included energy efficiency for compliance but this most recent proposal will not.
- How should the crediting system and timetables be designed? This covers the design of the system, setting baseline components for the mandate and the use of integrated targets to achieve the overall target. Will partial credits be issued for 'cleaner fossil fuels' such as gas?
- How will a CES affect the deployment of particular technologies? What credit price will promote the use of renewables, while ensuring the best energy mix at the best price for the consumers?
- How should alternative compliance payments, regional costs, and consumer protections be addressed? The CES must negate regional disparities as far as possible, ensuring price certainty for consumers and utilities. Will cost containment measures be necessary.
- How would the CES interact with other policies? The CES target of 80% by 2035, will require the deployment of a wide range of technologies, the cost of which will vary greatly, so technology specific supporting policies may be necessary.
There have been examples of voluntary CES's called Tradable Green certificates quota based systems in Belgium, Sweden and the UK, which provide useful case studies for the US model. They all have the common goal of achieving price parity for renewables against fossil fuel generation.
- The national emissions registries of Greece and Latvia will resume normal operations on 30 March 2011. This will bring the number of reopened registries to 23 after the cyber attacks on January 19th.
- The start of the third phase (2013-2020) will see power generators pay for all of their allowances. Today the EU commission published rules on transitional free allocation to the power sector. This measure will allow 10 member states to allocate a limited number of allowances for free to power stations instead of selling them.
- Three Chinese airlines join a US lawsuit over their mandated inclusion into the EU-ETS.
The Crisis in Japan has had a knock on effect on the price of carbon in the EUETS. It is estimated that the Japanese nuclear catastrophe will necessitate the Japanese Government to acquire an extra 70 million permits to meet their Kyoto obligations. This is due to the fact that the nuclear output will have to be replaced by more conventional sources of power as it is likely that the nuclear facility at Fukushima will be entombed and never used again. President Merckel also reversed her unpopular decision of last year to run Germany's 17 nuclear facilities until 2035. She has placed a 3 month moratorium on nuclear decisions and has assured the electorate that a return to policy pre-Fukushima is not tenable anymore. The European Union also announced that European facilities will be tested to ensure their safety in the event of a earthquake. Switzerland has also announced that they will review their nuclear energy policy. This is likely to create a bullish move for the carbon price. There will be a higher demand for carbon credits when the nuclear capacity is replaced by gas power generation. The nuclear solution has been a large part of the zero carbon economy for many Nations. The policy makers may now have to return to the drawing board.
Many are predicting the end of nuclear energy in the zero carbon economies of the future but the nuclear debate has been gaining speed recently pre-Fukushima. Nuclear accounts for a 14% segment of the energy mix worldwide. This energy is derived from 411 operating nuclear facilities worldwide. France has 75% nuclear, Germany 22%, Japan 29% and the US 20%. Another school of thought sees nuclear energy adapting rather than being phased out. A new breed of small modular plants is currently in development and could emerge as early as 2020. Companies such as Nuscale have designed plants capable of generating a dozen 45 megawatt reactors, with an upper limit of 540 MW. These plants are much smaller than conventional Nuclear plants. They contain about 5% of the nuclear fuel, it only takes 3 years to build the plant compared with 6 years for existing Nuclear plants. An estimated price of 6 to 9 cents a kilowatt hour can be achieved from this technology which falls into the category of low cost energy.
An additional safety measure of this new generation of nuclear facilities will be the containment pools will be placed underground, using natural circulation to provide cooling. This allows cooling to take place without the aid of pumps which was the primary breach in Japan. The system can also run for 30 days without power. The new plants also have a design specification to withstand seismic activity of 0.5g, a measurement that means it can withstand forces and acceleration that are half that of gravity. Typical plants in the U.S are currently designed to a specification of 0.25g. Other benefits includes maintenance can be carried out while the plant reduces its capacity by 45MW. The Nuclear plants that we live with today have to be completely closed every 18 months for a complete maintenance overhaul. A schematic of a typical modular plant is shown below:
- UN announces the sale of 120 million Phase 3 EUA's in 2012.
- Carbon analysts increase price forecasts for year end 2011 by 17%. Long term forecasts remain unchanged.
- Airline Lufthansa indicate a 10% increase in their airline emissions for 2010.
- The New Zealand cap and trade scheme considers a ban on Industrial gas CER's.
By David Boles
Last Tuesday saw the expansion of the EUETS with the publication of emission levels for the aviation Industry. In essence this expands the jurisdiction of the cap and trade system outside of the physical borders of the 30 Nations involved in the GHG mitigation mechanism. About 40,000 operators will be included in the scheme from January 2012. Any flights in and out of Europe from 2006-2010 are included with certain exemptions in place. In carbon terms, this will see the aviation Industry receive 212,892,052 tonnes of emissions for compliance in 2012. From 2013, this will drop to 208,502,525 tonnes for phase 3 of the EUETS, 2013-2020.
The year 2010 was chosen as a baseline for the final allocation of credits to the operators. This has caused objections from the Industry due to the volcanic ash cloud in early 2010, when many airlines were grounded for the best part of a month. Litigation proceedings have already been started by some airlines but a change of the base year would need a change in European law. However, it looks like the current position will stand as the European court of justice will make the final decision.
The inclusion of aviation will have a large contribution to reaching our future mitigation targets and is currently only second to the power generation sector for credits allocated. Airlines will receive 82% of the allowances for free, with another 15% auctioned. The remaining 3% will be reserved for new entrants.
The list of operators included can be found here . A quick look at this list reveals the reach of these measures and covers countries from all corners of the globe. The European Commission moved to include aviation after international talks failed to introduce a pan global cap and trade. Any participants can access their emission data through the Eurocontrol website. Eurocontrol can inform those involved of their 2010 baseline emissions by submitting their CRCO numbers through a platform on the website above.
The European Commission published the EU roadmap to Carbon 2050, on the 8th of March. The main crux of this is that the target should be shifted from 20% to 25% GHG mitigation by 2020 using 1990 as a baseline. The Roadmap takes the form of a Communication that is addressed to the Council, European Parliament, European Economic and Social Committee and Committee of the Regions, as well as to national parliaments for their information. The EU institutions and bodies are expected to give their responses, in the form of conclusions or resolutions, in the coming months. This translates as , the target hike is the advisable way forward, please respond.
Tuesday also saw the publication of the Carbon Plan by the UK's department of energy and Climate Change(DECC). The plan goes into considerable detail and highlights different policy measures to ensure the UK moves towards a zero carbon economy. The Report includes the following measures:
- The creation of a floor in the carbon price by April 2011
- DECC to award the contract for the first UK Carbon Capture and Storage demonstration by end of this year and identify further demonstration projects by May 2012
- The Department for Business to get the Green Investment Bank operational by September 2012 with the first annual data released on the funds in and size of investments made by the Bank by May 2013
- By June 2011, the department for transport to develop a nationwide strategy to promote the installation of electric vehicle infrastructure
- DECC to lead in reducing central government's emissions by 10% in twelve months with the deadline of May 2011
- By June 2012, The department of the environment, food and rural affairs( Defra) are to launch a pilot project to develop and trial methods for delivering integrated environmental advice for farmers, including on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- The Czech Government have responded to the theft of credits from their registry on the 19th Jan. The state owned utility CEZ and Emissions traders Blackstone Global will receive €18.2 million in EU allowances to replace those stolen, the Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas announced on Wednesday.
- Ice Europe have published a list of EUA's that they will not facilitate on their platform. The EUA and CER spot trades on CER's remains closed.
- Eon, one of the largest power generators in Europe have announced that they will have a deficit of 15 million euros for compliance at the end of April.
- Nasdaq OMX and Green X are to bid for the European auction platform.
By David Boles
Tomorrow will see the official release of the 2050 Roadmap, which should shed some light on whether or not the European Commission will alter the GHG mitigation target from 20% to 30%. A report by the European Climate Action Network (CAN-E) illustrates the benefits to adopting the higher target. The premise of the paper is that the sooner that action takes place the less it will cost in order to reach the 2050 target of 80-95%. This is backed up by statistics from the International Energy Agency which estimates an additional global cost of €300-400 billion per year if the development of low carbon technologies is delayed.
The cost of this move is estimated by the European Commission to be between 0.2% and 0.3 % of GDP. Recent studies by the likes of Ecofys and others, estimate that GDP gains of approximately 10% will result from the higher target by 2050.
The increase target would also have a knock on effect for the price of carbon. By increasing the target to 30%, a cut of 1.4 Gtonnes of credits will be taken from the EU-ETS. The effects of this are likely to increase the price of carbon to an estimated €30/tonne by 2020. This should generate an additional €70billion revenue for European governments through the auctioning of EUA's.
Employment figures are set to benefit from the increased target. The European commission estimates that 2 million additional direct and indirect jobs will be created in the EU's renewable energy sector.
If Europe moves to a 30% target, the European Commission estimate likely savings of an estimated €30.5 billion on health care due to cleaner air.
By David Boles
The investment in the sustainable energy sector is paramount if targets set out to mitigate climate change are to be achieved. The sustainable energy sector demonstrated resilience as all sectors have been hit by the global economic downturn. This can be seen if by examining a cross section of indexes shown below:
(The NEX index tracks the performance of 88 sustainable energy stocks worldwide.)
The downturn derailed investment in renewables, which saw $162 billion invested in 2009. A further spurt, realised a 30% growth in 2010, totalling $243bn in sustainable energy investment. This was the highest year on record which bodes well for the future. It segregates sustainable energy from the now burst credit bubble. The signs are that the move to sustainable energy is not a fad and is likely to grow with time. In 2009 we saw the governments of the world get behind the sustainable energy movement to the tune of $188 billion.
Banks also sought to bridge the financial gap, with assistance coming from the likes of the European Investment Bank and Germany's KfW. Policy makers have also legislated for favourable investment; over 100 countries have some sort of policy target or promotion policy in place by 2010.
The US are still the world leaders in terms of installed renewable capacity, excluding large hydro, it's total stood at more than 53GW, BUT China is fast catching up, only lagging by about 1GW IN EARLY 2010. Germany is third with approximately 36 GW and Spain are fourth with 22GW. The $188 billion 'Green Stimulus' mentioned earlier hasn't really kicked in as yet , by May 2010, only $16.6 billion or 9% had been spent. These funds are still to be spent with estimated expenditures shown below.
The mammoth task has only begun, with a global power consumption estimated at 4220TW, with forecast growth as population and economy grows, there is still a long way to go.