CP Daily: Monday March 4, 2019

Published 00:15 on March 5, 2019  /  Last updated at 14:25 on March 5, 2019  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Five RGGI entities fail to comply at interim compliance deadline

Five RGGI compliance entities in the northeast US RGGI cap-and-trade programme failed to surrender sufficient allowances to meet their interim 2018 obligations, according to public reports.

AMERICAS

CPUC should consider California’s climate goal in PG&E safety proceeding -stakeholders

California regulators should factor in the state’s long-term climate goals as they assess ways to increase the safety and reliability of Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) natural gas and power businesses, stakeholders said.

NY grid operator’s CO2 charge could be delayed following call for additional analysis

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) could delay a vote on imposing a carbon charge in its wholesale power market after it sought additional analysis on the proposed policy, an official told Carbon Pulse on Monday.

ASIA PACIFIC

Australia might use Kyoto units for Paris compliance even under new government

Australia’s opposition Labor party is positioning itself ahead of the May election as the more ambitious option on climate change, but even they might use the nation’s huge surplus of emission units from the UN Kyoto Protocol period to meet the country’s 2030 obligations under the Paris Agreement.

EMEA

EU Market: Carbon adds 4% to top €23 as rally enters seventh day

European carbon prices rose for a seventh day on Monday, rising 4% to clear €23 as the latest rally shows no sign of abating.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Woody suit – Campaigners have filed a lawsuit to the EU Court of Justice seeking to stop the EU counting wood as a carbon neutral energy source. They argue the EU Renewable Energy Directive promotes logging of ancient forests, according to the brief, contravening the bloc’s higher principles and individuals’ rights. The suit challenges the nearly two-thirds of efforts towards the EU target to generate 32% of EU energy from renewable sources by 2030 as utilities, such as Drax and RWE, burn wood pellets instead of coal. The EU’s policy framework aims to guarantee “sustainable development of bioenergy but carbon accounting of forest management has long been fraught with controversy as some scientists warn it does not reflect the true climate impact”. Meanwhile, Drax has admitted breaching environmental rules in the US after one its wood pellet plants significantly exceeded air pollution limits, the Times reports. The company’s Morehouse Bioenergy plant in Louisiana, which was opened in 2015 and produces about 500,000 tonnes of pellets each year, produces particulate emissions about four times higher than permitted. (Climate Home)

Britain’s bump – The UK’s CO2 emissions fell for the sixth consecutive year in 2018, the longest series of continuous reductions on record, according to a Carbon Brief analysis. The estimated 1.5% reduction was once again driven by falling coal use, whereas oil and gas use were largely unchanged, according to the analysis. However, there are signs the reductions are slowing to an end, with 2018 seeing the smallest fall in the six-year run. (Carbon Brief)

Bonuses back – After a few years of roughly stable payouts for many of Europe’s energy traders, big bonuses are back after a year of volatile markets and stellar gains for carbon, specialist recruiters said. More people than previously will enter the seven-figure bracket and expectations across the board is for about 20% more in compensation compared with the previous year. The best are looking at a total pay in the range of $2.5-3 mln or more. (Bloomberg)

Loosen up guys – Oil and gas companies under pressure by investors to curtail investment in fossil fuels should loosen their purse strings for green energy, according to Accenture. Managers of traditional energy businesses need to spend in areas that attract new customers, such as batteries, auto charging and renewable electricity, said Andrew Smart, the managing director of global energy industry at the consulting group. Otherwise, they risk the “dirty” part of their companies strangling growth opportunities, he said. “The old has a habit of killing the new,” Smart said in an interview at the IP Week energy conference in London. (Bloomberg)

Rate wrangling – The Canadian federal government’s ‘backstop’ carbon tax of C$20 on fossil fuels kicks in Apr. 1 and will result in a yearly bill increase of C$18 on electricity and C$109 in natural gas charges, the Saskatchewan government said on Monday. It added that while the provincial government was aiming to freeze or reduce utility rates for 2019, the ministers responsible for Crown corporations SaskEnergy and SaskPower said the carbon tax had compromised that plan. Ottawa has already said it will return 90% of the money it receives through the fuel levy to consumers through tax rebates, with a Saskatchewan family of four taking in an average of $600 this year. (Regina Leader-Post)

Hydrogen hype – Florida-based energy company Joi Scientific has teamed up with Canadian provincial utility New Brunswick (NB) Power to create the first hydrogen-powered baseload electric grid. The system will use Joi’s Hydrogen 2.0 extraction technology to develop approximately 30 power stations, with the company saying that it has solved cost and emissions issues that come with extracting hydrogen from water. NB Power, which has a goal of generating 40% of its electric power from renewables by 2020, could see a commercially operational prototype of the technology in two to three year. (Utility Dive)

And finally… Full moon fever – A New York-based hedge fund looking to take over New Mexico’s San Juan Generating Facility, targeted for closure by state lawmakers, wants to refit the 46-year-old, coal-fired plant to use CCS technology. Acme Equities said last week that retrofitting the 847MW plant with CCS would cut CO2 by 90% and generate revenue through enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations. However, the company, which is negotiating with local officials in the town of Farmington to take over the plant, is not only facing pushback from state lawmakers on the economic viability of CCS. In an article last week on the website for think-tank Energy and Policy Institute, executive director David Pomerantz said Acme had almost no experience in the power sector. He also noted that Acme co-founder Jason Selch was fired from his job at Wanger Asset Management in 2005. After Bank of America took over management and fired one of Selch’s colleagues, Selch dropped his pants and “mooned” two of his new employers in protest. Bank of America fired Selch, who sued, appealed, and finally lost for good in 2012. (Power Magazine)

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