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ANALYSIS – What goes up: Bearish headwinds lead more experts to change tune on once irrepressible EUAs
After tripling in price and being hailed the best performing commodity of 2018, the party could be over for once irrepressible European carbon – at least for now – with experts forewarning of a hangover fuelled by falling gas and other bearish factors.
EUAs climbed back above €20 on Friday, partially reversing this week’s volatile plunge to a two-month low that saw carbon enter bear market territory, though traders said prices remain vulnerable to further falls.
Germany will not apply carbon pricing to its non-ETS sectors until at least 2021, new state energy secretary Andreas Feicht said Thursday.
(Updates Thursday’s article to include comment from case lawyer about wider implications for ETS firms)
California’s ARB could amend its carbon allowance allocations to account for the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s (LADWP) post-2020 power plant closures, as the state agency also looks to adapt ETS regulations to account for higher Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) targets, sources said.
The oil industry is expected to mount an opposition campaign against a Washington state proposal to enact a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) that is currently advancing through the legislature, stakeholders said Friday.
A summary of legislative action on carbon pricing and clean energy bills at the US state level taken this week, including Virginia Republicans’ move to block a RGGI linkage, carbon pricing developments in New York, and the defeat of a carbon tax bill in Montana.
Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator issued fewer than 10,000 new carbon credits this week, as most projects seeking to earn credits in time for the Safeguard mechanism compliance deadline have done so over the past two months.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
End of the Bull Run/Trouble at Paradise – The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted to close two aging coal-fired power plants following President Donald Trump’s public plea to keep one of them open, Reuters reports. The 870-MW Bull Run coal plant in Tennessee will close by Dec. 2023, and the 971-MW Paradise 3 plant in Kentucky will be shut by Dec. 2020. Trump had tweeted on Monday that coal “is an important part of our electricity generation mix” and that the TVA “should give serious consideration to all factors before voting to close viable power plants”. Three of the four people appointed to the TVA board by Trump joined the 6-1 majority voting to close down the Paradise coal unit, and all four joined the unanimous vote to retire Bull Run. “Let me tell you what this decision is not about – it’s not about coal … This decision is about economics,” said the utility’s President and CEO Bill Johnson. Both plants have outlived their design life by about a decade and are only able to operate about 10% of the time. (Carbon Brief)
I’ll raise you an pro-science amendment – US Senate Democrats hope to put Republicans on the record on whether they support the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change, Axios reports. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is bringing up the Green New Deal resolution for a vote soon – a move that shows GOP confidence that it puts Democrats in a political bind. But Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said Democrats will push an amendment on acknowledgement of human-driven global warming. “If Leader McConnell blocks amendments, we’ll know where he and his party stand: against science, against fact, ostriches with their heads buried in the sand as the tide comes in,” he said.
Indian sweets – India’s power ministry has proposed to the government’s finance commission to offer incentives worth 885 billion rupees ($12.4 billion) to encourage power plants to install equipment to curb pollution and to develop electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure by 2025 in 70 cities. (Reuters)
Fresh cash – Germany and India has inked a new climate co-operation agreement to spend €35 million of new funding in India over the next few years, the German environment ministry said. The spending will focus on sustainable forest projects, grid expansion, and storage systems for renewable energy.
Blame the little guy – Major industrials normally get the blame for deforestation in Indonesia, a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. But a new report from researchers CIFOR has found that smallholders actually account for the majority of new conversion of peatlands into palm oil plantations in the country, Eco-Business reports. They often adopt poor practices and fail to comply with regulations, increasing the risk of forest fires, the report found.
End of an era – After decades of supplying itself and its European neighbours with natural gas, an era has officially come to an end for the Netherlands. The country became a net importer for the first calendar year since it started production from the giant Groningen field in 1963. It joins European nations who have become increasingly reliant on sourcing fuel through pipelines from suppliers, such as Norway and Russia, or via tanker ships from the US, Qatar, and elsewhere. The shift was inevitable after the nation of 17 million vowed to close Groningen following earthquakes linked to extraction from the deposit in the north. (Bloomberg)
Auto action – Carmaker Daimler will push electric and hybrid cars more aggressively after tougher emissions tests revealed pollution levels in Europe at subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Cars rose 7% last year. The firm will increase the number of hybrid and electric vehicles to 20 models by 2020, up from five models in 2018. By 2025, up to 40% of passenger cars will be electric or hybrid cars, Daimler said. (Reuters)
Mills on board – Maine Governor Janet Mills (D) appears to be warming to a proposed hydroelectric transmission line from Canada to Massachusetts that has faced criticism from environmental groups and power utilities, according to a Maine Public Radio report. The proposed Central Maine Power-Hydro-Quebec project would bring 1.2 GWh of hydroelectric power to the New England area, and Mills said she was encouraged by the incentives attached to the proposal, including funding for electric vehicles. During her campaign, Mills said she had serious questions about the proposal, adding that the operators needed to show concrete long-term benefits of the project to the state. Opponents have countered that the initiative would have little environmental or economic benefits for the state.
Cash machine – A California Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) report released Thursday found the state’s cap-and-trade programme may generate an estimated $800 million more than Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration anticipated over a two-year period. The report estimated that $450 mln would remain unspent at the end of the 2019-2020 period, while Newsom had forecast carbon revenues of nearly $2.6 billion in the 2018-2019 fiscal year and $2.2 bln in the 2019-2020 fiscal year. LAO said the difference between the two forecasts were the result of 16 mln additional allowances being sold in their analysis.
How low can you go? – Three new solar electricity facilities to be built in south-eastern Alberta will supply the Canadian provincial government with 55% of its annual electricity needs at a cost lower than natural gas. The facilities, which will be built by Canadian Solar, will receive an average contract pricing of C$0.048 per kilowatt hour, less than the average historical wholesale power pool price paid to natural gas-fired electricity in Alberta in the years 2008 – 2018. Combined-cycle natural gas facilities received an average price of 7.1 cents/kWh during that period, while single-cycle natural gas electricity generation fetched 11.2 cents/kWh.
Youth power – Canadian environment minister Catherine McKenna on Friday announced C$125,000 from the federal government’s Climate Action Fund will go towards training youths to become environmental leaders. Non-profit organisation Ecology Ottawa’s Youth Climate Ambassadors Programme will allow 40 young Canadians to receive training and climate-related experience that includes holding four events and making climate action presentations at schools.
And finally… Youth power, part 2 – That feeling of being unrepresented by elected officials has driven tens of thousands of young people into the streets, around the world, for more climate action in recent weeks. Hundreds of youths in the UK staged a national day of school strikes on Friday, with many in other nations having earlier committed to protest in solidarity. Meanwhile, preparations for a global strike for climate on Mar. 15 are gathering pace. (Climate Home)
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