The Guardian reports from the World Economic Forum in Davos that the Infrastructure Investment Initiative estimates that US$18.7 trillion will be spent on public-private infrastructure partnerships, including power generation projects, in developing economies up to 2030. The focus is on green investment, and the report highlights the belief that where public finances are limited, the private sector will partner with state-owned organisations to deliver the infrastructure. Example programs are given.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance has summarised its analysis into the size and growth of the global carbon market. It estimates that in 2011, the size of the market increased from €84 billion to €92 billion, despite the tough economic conditions. The volume of carbon changing hands increased from 6.7 billion tonnes in 2010 to 8.2 billion. Much of the increase in trade is believed to have been caused by the general market volatility throughout Europe.
The rush in India over recent years to secure coal assets through foreign purchases has been brought about by inefficiencies and corruption in domestic coal production, the Financial Times reports. The domestic industry, which is the nation’s second largest employer, is growing, but not quickly enough to meet the national target of an increase of 100,000 megawatts of new capacity between 2012 and 2017.
Legislation and Regulation
Across Europe it has been widely reported that the European Parliament’s Environment Committee has voted in favour of withholding carbon allowances in the Emissions Trading System (ETS), which would push up the price of carbon. Because of the tough economic times in Europe, carbon production has reduced in line with falls in industrial output, risking a steep drop in the price of carbon without intervention.
In the USA, The Wall Street Journal has reported that the EPA has failed to meet a deadline to release guidance on the dangers posed by dioxins in the environment and in food. It suggests that pressure from the chemical and food industries has delayed the EPA release. The American Chemistry Council has stated that “… it is clear that the EPA has more work to do in order for the agency to release a complete and scientifically defensible dioxin assessment.”
SSE, the Scotland based utility, and Shell have agreed to try to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) at the utility’s gas-fired power plant at Peterhead, Scotland. The two companies are seeking to tap into £1 billion that the UK government has promised for the first commercial-scale CCS scheme. SSE would transport the captured carbon to Shell’s Goldeneye gas field in the North Sea.
E.ON has announced plans to convert one of its 500 MW coal-fired units at Ironbridge, England, to co-fire biomass, starting in 2013. Wood pellets will be the additional fuel, providing up to 20 per cent of the input energy. However, the plant is still under threat from being closed down by the end of 2015 as it falls under the category of being a highly polluting plant.
In Finland, Metso has reached an agreement to supply a pellet-fired heating plant to Tempereen Energiantuotanto Oy in Tampere. The thermal input will be a 33 MW, the largest in Finland, and will replace some of the old boilers of Tempereen Energiantuotanto Oy, reducing total CO2 emissions.
Finally, talks between RWE AG and Gazprom about power generation co-operation have broken down for the time being. Negotiations had been taking place for the last six months about proposals for joint power plants in Germany, Britain and the Benelux countries. Both sides have said talks may resume at some point in the future.