Mixed Greens: Solar, wind top new build in EU

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Renewables accounted for 3/4 of all new capacity in Europe in 2011, Australia plans first carbon auction in 2014.

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A total of 32 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity was installed in the EU in 2011, a record for a calendar year and accounting for 71.3 per cent of the total new capacity. The biggest single source of new capacity came from solar PV, with 47 per cent of 21GW, followed by wind with 21.4 per cent (9.6GW), and large hydro, solar thermal, geothermal, wave energy and biomass all with one per cent or less. Of the non-renewables, gas accounted for 21.6 per cent, coal 4.8 per cent and nuclear 1 per cent (although 20 times more nuclear capacity was closed during the year than opened – see graph below).

The European Wind Energy Association says that ince 2008, renewable capacity installations have represented more than half of all new installed capacity. Of the 302.6 GW of new power capacity installed in the EU since 2000, 28.2 per cent has been wind power, 47.8 per cent wind and other renewables, and 90.8 per cent total renewables and gas. However, it said that for the second year running, coal installed more capacity (2,147 MW) than it decommissioned (840W). It said this hike in new coal power highlights the urgent need for the EU to move to a 30 per cent green- house gas reduction target for 2020, rather than a 20 per cent target, and to introduce an Emissions Performance Standard, and to end fossil fuel subsidies.

Carbon auction for 2014

The first carbon permit auction under Australia’s emissions trading scheme is likely to be held in early 2014, more than a year before the fixed price regime is replaced by a market scheme. According to a government position paper, there will be no auction if the first year of the carbon pricing mechanism, when the price will be fixed at $23/tonne of Co2-e, and will likely take place in 2013/14, most likely early in 2014.

The auctions are expected to be a key mechanism used by heavy emitters to hedge their future obligations. The early 2014 auction will likely be one of two advance auctions before the start of the ETS in July, 2015, but future auctions are likely to be held quarterly and include four years of vintage, including three for future years. The government expects some entities to bank some early vintage units and to create a secondary market in carbon credits.

The scheme will cover some 400 million tonnes of Co2 per year – about the same size as markets planned for California and South Korea. Among other proposals are a decision to disallow deferred purchases, despite objections from some utilities, and to allow foreign banks and trading houses to bid at the auctions.

 

 

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