Green Energy: Australia moves one step closer to launch of carbon exchange
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The Clean Energy Regulator says it is a step closer to founding an exchange for Australian carbon credits, after shortlisting 13 companies to participate in its request for proposal.
The decision to create an open web-based exchange from 2023 would remove barriers to entry to the carbon market as business demand for emissions reductions increases.
Prices for Australian Carbon Credit Units have increased by 40% this year to around $23/t, but experts expect prices to rise over the decade as new emissions reductions targets like a net zero by 2050 pledge crystallise and market transparency improves.
The carbon exchange would reduce transaction costs for businesses and individuals looking to trade on the carbon market.
“Business demand for carbon offsets is growing rapidly,” CER executive general manager Mark Williamson said.
“Simplifying access to our vibrant carbon market will help businesses met their emission targets.”
Meanwhile, the CER said Australia was on track to add 2-3GW of large scale renewable energy to its project pipeline in 2021, with 725MW reaching a final investment decision in the June quarter.
That was a big jump on just 19MW to reach FID in the March Quarter, with the CER saying it was not possible to assess meaningful trends quarter on quarter due to the small number of commercial decisions involved.
The Federal Government and regulators have faced criticism from within the renewable industry this year about the slowing pace and waning confidence in investment, which industry groups like the Clean Energy Council have attributed in part to ‘unhelpful government interventions’.
The CER said 60MW was added to the probable pipeline of projects with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), a leading indicator of future installations.
Another 511MW moved from probable to committed status. But the CER warned grid connection and transmission issues seen by renewable generators could stall investment if connection upgrades are not delivered.
“The total probable pipeline now stands at 3.5 GW. With a joint probable and committed pipeline of 7.1 GW, prospects for the renewable energy industry over the next few years is positive.”
“At some point, investment in renewables may stall if delivery of transmission and inter-connector upgrades are not sped up.”
“The Clean Energy Regulator will continue to monitor the pipeline and the Australian renewables investment environment for any early indications of a change in investment patterns.”
Rooftop solar installations saw a June quarter record of 803MW added, 18% higher than the June quarter in 2020 and a year-on-year first half increase from 1.3GW in 2020 to 1.6GW in 2021.
Based on typical second half growth patterns, that would put the market on track for 3.6GW of new installations this year, but that could be stalled by Covid lockdowns, with installed capacity likely to be “just over 3GW”.
The CER also says a record 5.7 million ACCUs were added in the June quarter, taking supply for the first half of 2021 to 8.8m, up 5% on last year. 47 new projects were registered under the Emission Reduction Fund, expected to abate about 8Mt of CO2 equivalent.
In these times of green energy and greenwashing transparency is important.
Renewables and green energy “accelerator” ReNu Energy says it will take a 6.1% stake in Enosi Energy, a company that does just that with its PowerTracer technology, which purports to allow customers to track the renewable content of their energy supply.
It also enables retailers to sell clean energy directly to customers using the service.
ReNu CEO Greg Watson said the $500,000 investment would capitalise on a new class of ‘energy as a service’ technology.
“The proposed investment in Enosi is a part of advancing the Company’s renewable and clean energy incubator/accelerator strategy,” he said.
“There is a strong demand amongst corporate groups and consumers to progress a true zero carbon future and the Powertracer technology provides significant advantages when pursuing this.
“Real time traceability is a new class of ‘Energy as a Service’ (EaaS) technology and Enosi is at the forefront of its development.”
The 8GW HyEnergy project received a bump from the WA Budget this week, with the announcement of a $61.5 million investment in the State’s nascent green hydrogen industry from the McGowan Government.
At least $300,000 of that will be committed to work around the HyEnergy development near Carnarvon, via a grant to hydrogen shipping developer Global Energy Ventures (ASX:GEV), which is planning to export compressed hydrogen from HyEnergy on project owners Province Resources (ASX:PRL) and Total Eren’s behalf.
Province says it has its first “section 91 licence” under WA’s Land Administration Act to begin environmental, geological, technical and other survey work on the ground at the project, located just north of Carnarvon in the State’s Gascoyne region.
“It means we get can get a better understanding of the physical properties of the location to support our concept selection process,” Province MD David Frances said.
“We are looking forward to being on site in the coming weeks to begin this important work.”