California's Carbon Permits Sell Out
California's first pollution permits were sold out Monday at an inaugural auction, kicking off the state's landmark effort to curtail carbon emissions.
Some 23.1 million permits, each allowing for the release of one ton of carbon, were sold for $10.09 each, according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The sales opened up the largest carbon marketplace in the nation and second-largest in the world, after Europe.
CARB will not release specific figures on how many permits were bought by individual polluters, nor will it comment on bidding activity of each polluter. Although Pacific Gas & Electric couldn't comment on whether the company participated in the auction, PG&E's spokeswoman Blair Jones said that the company is “satisfied with the process based on what we've observed.”
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The amount of bids submitted was three times higher than allowances available for sale—a robust turnout. Most allowances, around 97 percent, were purchased by companies regulated under the program, and the rest were bought by financial traders to sell later.
The California Chamber of Commerce has filed a lawsuit against the program, arguing that CARB does not have the authority to collect money for the state.
"California employers paid hundreds of millions of dollars for carbon credits during the first cap and trade auction last week. Instead of hiring workers, expanding production, or investing in new carbon-reducing equipment, these auction dollars will be distributed by government for other purposes," Dorothy Rothrock, vice president of the California Manufacturers & Technology Association said in a statement.
Some of the money collected will be used for residential utility ratepayers and small businesses to help offset an expected rise in their bills, while other portions of the funds will go towards various energy efficiency projects.
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
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Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly