Facing another expiration of the tax credit on January 2, 2014, wind farm construction is booming again. In our RECs section, several bloggers weigh in on the impending expiration and tackle the broader and touchy subject of tax credit-supported energy. And, from the trading space, Guangdong to Freeze Trading Unless Emitters Take Part in Auction and EU Maritime Carbon Rules Must Avoid Global Row, Governments Say — both articles covered in the Leads section.

Quote of the Day:

“The proposal strikes the right balance by creating a level playing field among global competitors for reporting emissions while minimizing the industry’s administrative burden. The proposal will not obstruct international talks. On the contrary, it will make a valuable contribution.”

–Danish Climate Minister Martin Lidegaard in Bloomberg’s EU Maritime Carbon Rules Must Avoid Global Row, Governments Say”

Lead Stories

Guangdong to Freeze Trading Unless Emitters Take Part in Auction
China’s southern province of Guangdong won’t allow companies to trade emission permits they receive free of charge from the government unless they participate in auctions starting next week, an official said.

EU Maritime Carbon Rules Must Avoid Global Row, Governments Say
The European Union’s planned rules to monitor greenhouse gases from ships must be in line with international law to avoid conflicts with other nations, according to member states including Italy and Ireland.

UPDATE 1-EU to probe German renewable energy discounts -draft letter
The European Commission is opening an investigation into the discounts German industries get on renewable energy surcharges, according to a draft letter sent to Berlin, which could lead to higher costs for thousands of firms in Europe’s biggest economy.

Merkel hands environment and energy posts to coalition partner
Angela Merkel has ceded control of Germany’s controversial shift from nuclear to renewable energy to her Social Democrat(SPD) rivals, who will take charge of ministries responsible for the environment and energy, according to SPD sources.

Keystone Backed in Poll by 56% of Americans as Security
More Americans view the Keystone XL oil pipeline as a benefit to U.S. energy security than as an environmental risk, even as they say Canada should do more to reduce greenhouse gases in exchange for approval of the project.

Uphill Battle in Europe Over Fracking
The New York Times
A recent lecture on energy and climate change at the London School of Economics and Political Science by John Browne, the former chief executive of the oil giant BP, showed how contentious the debate on the merits of extracting natural gas from shale rock has become in Britain and Europe.

As America enjoys cheap gas, Asia’s top buyers to pay more
Asia’s biggest economies face paying twice as much for some natural gas as old supply deals are renewed, with a North American shale glut years from helping to meet soaring demand in the region.

France Reviews Green-Energy Subsidies as Moves Away From Nuclear
France began reviewing subsidies for green energy developments as the country seeks to curb the cost of its plans to shift generation from nuclear to renewables.


Climate Leadership Conference
Association of Climate Change Officers
February 24-26, 2014
San Diego, CA

Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) 2014
March 26-28, 2014
San Francisco, California


New Jersey Senate Takes On Chris Christie Over Carbon Emissions Program
Climate Progress
After Gov. Chris Christie backed out of a successful regional carbon emissions trading program in 2011 and has vetoed any attempt to rejoin, New Jersey state senators have decided to let the voters dictate whether the state should participate.

Cap-and-trade generates $3.3 million for energy efficiency this year
VT Digger.org
Vermont’s efficiency utility received $3.3 million this year through the Northeast carbon cap-and-trade initiative. The money will be used to fund the state’s thermal efficiency program.

Wisconsin on track to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 22%
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
New analysis by a climate and energy think tank shows Wisconsin is on track to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by 22% between 2005 and 2020, but more cuts will likely be needed to meet federal climate change regulations under development.

Natural Gas/Coal/Alternative Fuels

China’s Changing Coal Consumption Threatens Australia
International Business Times
China’s changing coal consumption is threatening the existence of Australian coal mines. As China rallies to war to work for cleaner air, the most visible casualties of this war would be the Australian coal mines which are at risk of getting stranded, if not all together abandoned.

California Plans Tighter Control of Fracking, but Not Enough for Some
The New York Times
California drillers eager to use hydraulic fracturing to tap the nation’s largest oil shale formation will face comprehensive regulation for the first time next year under rules issued this week.

Can Apache Corporation make ‘fracking’ a greener word?
In the eye of the environmentally conscious public, “fracking” is a dirty word. The volume and toxicity of the chemicals that energy companies use to release oil and gas from shale formations incite widespread worry about drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations.

EU fails to limit biofuels
EU energy ministers on Thursday failed to agree on a compromise deal to limit the use of transport fuels made from food crops, which critics say pushes up food prices and can do more harm than good to the environment.


Kuwait to secure $1.4 bln financing for major power project
Kuwait is set to secure $1.43 billion in financing from a consortium of banks for a power and desalination plant, one of the major projects in the Gulf Arab state’s development plan, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) said.

Scottish Power Halts Offshore Wind Plan Due to Technical Hurdles
Scottish Power Ltd. dropped plans to build a wind farm off the country’s shores because of technical challenges, the second such proposal to be axed since November.

Brazil Energy Auction Sells 2.3 Gigawatts of Wind-Power Projects
Brazilian wind-farm developers won contracts to sell energy from 97 planned power projects with 2.3 gigawatts of capacity, the most of any generating technology in a government-organized auction.

SSE wins approval for $1.3 bln pumped storage plant in Scotland
British utility SSE has won approval to build an 800 million pound ($1.3 billion) power plant in Scotland, although a lack of government support and high network costs may mean the project will not go ahead, the company said.

AEMC sees power price moderation
Climate Spectator
The AEMC’s three-year forecast for residential electricity prices expects the national average annual increase in prices will be lower than expected level of inflation at 1.2 per cent a year from 2012-13 to 2015-16.


Wind Energy Production Tax Credit To Die Quietly December 31
This time last year, the big renewable energy issue was the Federal Wind Power Production Tax Credit (PTC), which was set to expire at the end of 2012. The subsidy, which provides owners of wind turbines with 2.2 cents in tax credits for every kilowatt-hour the turbines produce, was called critical to the survival of the American wind industry. Wind advocates said that letting the PTC expire could kill the wind industry in the U.S., taking thousands of jobs and non-carbon electrical power with it.

Wind energy tax credit: Is it worth the money?
The Christian Science Monitor guest blog
Wind energy faces yet another scheduled expiration of the wind Production Tax Credit that has promoted growth in the industry for two decades. Replacing it with a smarter policy emphasizing innovation, Styles writes, would be beneficial for taxpayers, the environment, and even the US wind energy industry.

Why Congress needs to extend the wind energy tax credit
The wind energy production tax credit is a tougher issue than you might imagine for some good liberal wonks. On the one hand, wind power is great. On the other hand, tax credits are a market-distorting, inefficient way of making policy. They are basically spending disguised as tax cuts. Most tax credits that affect the environment — accelerated depreciation for the fossil fuel industry, the home mortgage interest deduction — incentivize sprawl, driving, and profligate dirty energy use. It is a rare, and tantalizing, point of agreement between good government advocates across party lines that we should throw out the whole system and operate a cleaner tax code.

Wind Energy Projects Rush to Start Construction in Advance of Expiring Tax Credit (Again)
The Energy Collective blog
It’s December, and that means the wind power industry in the United States is in the middle of what has become an all-to-frequent holiday season tradition: the mad dash to get projects in the ground before the impending expiration of a federal production tax credit (PTC) worth $23 per megawatt-hour (MWh).


European Climate Foundation plays matchmaker for CEOs, scientists
There’s a new matchmaker in town, helping to cement a union between the latest climate science and business leaders. On the surface, these might appear unlikely partners, but the reality is that climate scientists and business chiefs are destined to spend a lifetime entwined in an intricate dance. Climate impacts will have a profound effect on businesses; so will the policies that governments develop in response. Similarly, business practices will have a significant impact on how serious climate effects become.

Turning a Building’s Water System Into a Hydroelectric Plant
The New York Times
Daryl Ng was taking a long shower, as he does every morning. And his wife, as she does every morning, scolded him for needlessly using so much water.


Israel’s Arad in Talks to Acquire Mexican Water Company
Arad Group (ARD), an Israeli developer of water meters, is in advanced talks to acquire a majority stake in a Mexican water company to expand in Latin America’s second largest economy, Chairman Hugo R. Chaufan said in an interview.


Use of internal carbon price by companies as incentive and strategic planning tool (Posted December 11, 2013)

OECD: Effective carbon prices (November 4, 2013)

Global 500 Climate Change Report 2013 (Posted September 12, 2013)

The Future of China’s Power Sector (posted August 27, 2013)
Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Sub-national involvement in NAMA development (posted August 7, 2013)
Ecofys’ International Climate Policies Unit

U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather (Posted July 14, 2013)
U.S. Dept. of Energy

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