Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that international carbon emission prices could be as low as $5 a tonne by 2020, undermining the ability of Australia’s carbon package to force technological changes to cut emissions. The imminent introduction of Australia’s $23 a tonne carbon price on July 1st has sparked concerns from major business groups in the wake of the collapse in the EU emissions trading price to about $10 and a corresponding slump in the value of the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism Certified Emissions Reduction units. Bloomberg’s prediction is based on an expected oversupply of emissions offsets programs over the course of the decade as big emitters such as the US stay out of the international carbon market.

South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced that a carbon tax will be implemented in 2013.  The proposal is to implement the carbon tax at a fairly low level, and then define an increasing price path over time.

Biomass from native forestry and timber industry processing, and from non-recyclable flammable municipal solid waste, is the source of one-third of Sweden’s energy supply – making it the greatest source of supply. Sweden aims to produce more than 80% of transport fuel needs from biomass by 2030. Some Swedish cities – including Stockholm – have a target of zero use of fossil fuels by 2030 for electricity, heating or transport.

Australian electricity rates are surging and are among the highest in the developed world, according to a new report, commissioned by the Energy Users Association of Australia. The report compared household energy prices in 91 jurisdictions globally, including all Australian states and territories, with the states of South Australia (third highest), New South Wales (fourth), Victoria (fifth) and Western Australia (sixth) all in the top ten. Forecasts of further rises in Australia in coming years from the new carbon tax could make it the most expensive country in the world for electricity.

In a paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, the authors reported that the environmental impact of corn-ethanol E85 is 23% to 33% higher than that of gasoline.

China’s annual output of shale gas is expected to skyrocket from near zero now to 6.5 billion cubic meters in 2015 and at least 10 times that by 2020, the government said in a development plan.

Japanese officials are seeking natural gas assurances from Canada and the US as Tokyo scrambles to find alternative energy sources to offset the lack of nuclear power.

A recent UK study found that measured in cost per produced kilowatt-hour, wind is still 20-200% more expensive than the cheapest fossil-fuel options.

The number of megawatts of solar power installed in the US in 2011 more than doubled from the previous year, driven by growth in solar plants built for utilities.

The United States dealt a blow to U.S. manufacturers of solar panels when it imposed preliminary punitive duties of less than 5% on imports from China. Energy analysts had expected Chinese imports of solar panels to be hit with preliminary duties of 20 to 30%, but the rates announced on Tuesday ranged from just 2.90% to 4.73%.

The share of electricity generated by burning coal in the US has fallen to near a 35-year low as utilities shift to cheaper gas on the back of the shale gas revolution.

 

with h/t Tom Whipple

 

 

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