CP Daily: Tuesday December 15, 2020

Published 00:46 on December 16, 2020  /  Last updated at 00:50 on December 16, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

A daily summary of our news plus bite-sized updates from around the world.

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TOP STORY

TCI jurisdictions to soon unveil final framework for US fuel sector carbon market

The Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) will release a finalised Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) next week, with the framework expected to outline the long-term climate goal for the proposed fuel sector cap-and-trade scheme, two regulatory sources told Carbon Pulse.

EMEA

EU to favour “quality over speed” in carbon removals certification -senior official

The EU will not rush to introduce a carbon removals certification system because it wants to minimise the potential for errors, a senior European Commission official said Tuesday.

EU Market: EUAs extend record high as energy complex soars

EUAs stretched their record high for the third successive session on Tuesday, as streaking energy prices added to bullish sentiment from a prolonged auction pause.

UK utility Drax agrees to sell gas assets to Vitol to focus on carbon negative ambitions

Drax has struck a deal to sell four gas power plants to energy trader Vitol, as the UK utility sheds its carbon allowance demand and shifts its focus to its biomass-based route to negative emissions.

EU ETS registry to go offline for maintenance, upgrade at turn of year

The EU’s emissions trading registry will be temporarily suspended at the turn of the year to allow for technical maintenance and a software upgrade, the European Commission announced Tuesday, adding that it has wiped an undisclosed amount of personal data from the ETS transaction log.

AMERICAS

HFC phaseout, energy package to be included in US omnibus spending bill -reports

The US Congress will include bipartisan energy-related proposals to reduce potent HFC gases and incentivise research and deployment of energy efficiency and CCUS in a $1.4 trillion government funding package set for release as early as Tuesday, according to numerous media reports.

Virginia court sets 2021 hearing date for RGGI lawsuit

A Virginia court will hold a hearing early next year over a lawsuit filed by an industrial group that challenges the legality of the state’s RGGI-modelled carbon market regulation, court records show.

Virginia facility opens RGGI account ahead of 2021 linkage

A Virginia generator opened a RGGI account this week ahead of the state’s entrance in the Northeast US emissions trading scheme next month, joining at least two other entities from the jurisdiction.

ASIA PACIFIC

South Korea adopts new 2030 climate target without increasing ambition

South Korea is shifting from a BAU-based 2030 emissions reduction target to an absolute one, though without promising deeper cuts, it confirmed on Tuesday while laying out priorities for where the effort will be made.

SK Market: Generator buying pushes KAUs to five-month high

Year-end demand from state-owned power companies pushed KAUs up by 10% on Tuesday with more upside expected in the next couple of weeks, according to market participants.

Australia Market Roundup: Regulator issues over half a million new ACCUs

Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator issued well over 500,000 new carbon credits over the past week and a half, according to data released on Tuesday that showed the units were awarded to 41 projects.

VOLUNTARY

Voluntary carbon offset developer hires former Shell exec to lead nature-based drive

A UK-based low-carbon project developer has appointed a former Shell executive to lead its offering on nature-based activities, aiming to respond to heightened corporate offset demand from the sector.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

A year in review – Business group IETA on Tuesday published its annual GHG Market Report reviewing key developments in emissions trading in 2020. The report includes several op-eds and analysis on the future of global carbon markets, the role of voluntary markets, and the role of natural and technology-based solutions to capture emissions, authored by former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, former EU top officials Jos Delbeke and Peter Vis, Verra’s David Antonioli, and Shell’s David Hone, among others. The report also includes a summary of this year’s highlights by the Carbon Pulse team.

Climate enshrined – French President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed he will put to a referendum a proposal to enshrine climate and environment protection in the French constitution. The country’s Citizens’ Climate Convention, made up of 150 randomly chosen citizens, has proposed to change the first article of the country’s constitution to add that “the [French] Republic guarantees the preservation of biodiversity and the environment and fights against climate change.” The proposed reform will be part of a draft climate bill translating about half of the convention’s 149 measures into law. (Politico)

TEN talk – Oil and gas infrastructure will not be allowed to receive EU funding under the bloc’s revised TEN-E, which defines the cross-border energy Projects of Common Interest (PCI). According to a European Commission proposal that confirms earlier drafts, “smart gas grids” could be allowed if they support “the integration of renewable and low-carbon gases” into the gas network. Pipelines to transport hydrogen are also eligible. Renewable energy groups and campaigners claim this is a loophole that could support pipelines that carry mostly natural gas. (Reuters)

Wind buddies – Germany and Denmark have pledged to cooperate on joint offshore wind power development, an “important step” towards achieving the EUs offshore wind strategy to increase Europe-wide capacity from 12 GW today to 60 GW by 2030 and to 300 GW in 2050. The cooperation would centre on energy hubs in the North and Baltic Seas. As part of its offshore strategy, the European Commission proposed that power generation assets at sea should form their own electricity market bidding zones, which set the price of the production there. (Reuters)

And gas pals – Germany and Denmark have also signed a deal to ensure gas supply between the two countries in case of unexpected shortages, the first such ‘solidarity’ deal required under EU rules to ensure support for nations dependent on third party gas. Russian gas accounted for over half of Germany’s total gas imports in 2018, while Denmark’s main import source was Norway. (Montel)

Totally divested – The European Commission on Tuesday cleared the acquisition of part of Orsted’s business-to-business activities in the UK by Total Gas & Power, a division of the French oil major. The operation involves most of Orsted’s electricity and gas contract portfolio for business customers and certain related assets, the Commission said. Total said in October that the contract included approximately 3,800 gas customers and 2,200 power customers, with a contracted volume of 28 TWh.

Flight fancy – Germany’s aviation industry has presented a climate plan that commits companies in the sector to the goal of CO2-neutral air transport and sets out in detail the measures that can reduce emissions. It sees the greatest leverage in replacing older aircraft, with other measures including replacing kerosene with sustainable fuel, support for improved and railway connections to help shift one-fifth of domestic passengers from air to rail, optimised flight routing, and greater coordination between the EU ETS and CORSIA carbon markets, covering intra-EU and international flights respectively. (Clean Energy Wire)

Gran slam or holm run? – President-elect Joe Biden will pick former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) to run the US Department of Energy (DOE), the agency that would play a key role in helping develop the technologies needed fulfill his pledge to move the country off fossil fuels, Politico reports. Granholm, who served two terms as Michigan’s governor, is experienced in dealing with the auto industry — a potentially big advantage as the new president seeks to speed the rollout of electric vehicles and the network of charging stations needed to power them. DOE also will play a key role in reducing emissions from the nation’s building, another target of Biden’s climate plan. DOE has responsibility over setting appliance standards, conducting research on innovations like electric heat pumps, and overseeing building and residential energy efficiency programmes. Meanwhile, multiple outlets reported Tuesday that Biden will nominate former EPA head Gina McCarthy as domestic climate advisor, and former South Bend, Indiana mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary.

Committee continuation – The US House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis will return for the 117th Congress with Representative Kathy Castor (D) of Florida as the reappointed chair, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) announced Monday. In a statement, Castor pointed to the panel’s sweeping climate report, unveiled earlier this year, and said members of the committee “will proudly work with Speaker Pelosi and the Biden-Harris Administration to turn these climate solutions and clean energy investments into a reality” in the next Congress. (Politico)

Solar surge – US solar installations will reach a new record this year, according to a report from consultancy Wood Mackenzie released Tuesday. The US saw 3.8 GW of new installed capacity in the third quarter, mostly coming from utility-scale projects, while full-year additions are expected to exceed 19 GW. The report notes that utility-scale projects were only “minimally” affected by pandemic-related construction delays, while the residential market has been on a roller coaster as lockdowns and other forces caused installations to crater earlier in the year. (Axios)

New beginnings – The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on Tuesday announced the beginning of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Program 2021 Rulemaking. The rulemaking will implement a cap-and-reduce programme, as laid out by Governor Kate Brown’s (D) March executive order, to limit emissions from large stationary sources, transportation fuels, and natural gas. Members of the Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC), recently confirmed by the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission, will hold their first meeting Jan. 14 to provide the DEQ with diverse perspectives on policy proposals, including environmental justice, fiscal, public health, and economic impacts of the programme. The rulemaking comes after Oregon Republican legislators fled the capitol in 2019 and 2020 to deny the majority Democrats a two-thirds quorum necessary to vote on WCI-aligned carbon market legislation, sinking the proposal each time and leading Brown to issue her order.

A sticky Bruns-wicket – The Canadian government’s recent plan to substantially increase its ‘backstop’ carbon pricing mandate to C$170 in 2030 may make New Brunswick’s provincial strategy impossible, according to Premier Blaine Higgs. New Brunswick was originally subject to Ottawa’s rising CO2 levy on fossil fuels, but earlier this year was allowed to implement its carbon tax strategy that simultaneously cuts gasoline excise taxes, leaving customers paying just 2 cents more per litre than they would otherwise. But the Progressive Conservative leader said Monday that the federal government’s new rate hike means New Brunswick will not be able to rely on this strategy anymore, meaning Ottawa could re-impose its backstop CO2 levy on the Maritime province. Higgs added “it’s early to tell” which option he’ll choose. (CBC)

And finally… COP connection ­– A Scottish airline is now offering connecting flights between the country’s two largest cities, despite the fact that they are less than 50 miles apart. Loganair is offering the £45.41, 15-minute journey between the capital of Edinburgh and UN COP26 host site of Glasgow seven days a week, which the company said was a side effect of the pandemic reducing demand for other routes. In comparison, the cost of a single train ticket from Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street station costs £13.40 and takes 51 minutes, according to National Rail, and it doesn’t require going through security with x-ray luggage scans. A Citylink bus from between the two city centres costs just £10 for a return and takes 1 hour and 20 minutes, while the journey can even be completed by foot between breakfast and dinner. (Edinburgh News)

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