How Energy Deregulation Affects States and Stocks

by Elaine Thompson Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in an executive summary of its New Energy Outlook 2017 report, predicts renewable energy sources will represent almost three-quarters of the $10.2 trillion the world will invest in new power-generating technology. Analysts outline several reasons for this increase in spending, such as the decreasing costs of wind and solar and consumers’ increasing interest in solar panels. Competition between power sources also continues to grow, with products like utility-scale batteries upsetting coal and natural gas’s roles in the marketplace. But more importantly, state-driven renewable portfolio standards pave the way for additional ventures in renewable energy technologies, particularly...

EDF Sets Up Carbon Fund

The French electric utility EDF announced today that it is setting up a €300 million ($396 million) carbon fund to help meet its regulatory requirements under the EU ETS, Europe’s regulatory framework to control CO2 emissions. Carbon funds allow companies to make investments that create CO2 emissions reductions in emerging markets, such as upgrades to industrial operations or renewable energy projects, and use the credits generated thus to meet regulatory requirements in their home jurisdictions. This is a good way to concurrently reduce compliance costs at home and foster environmentally-friendly investments in emerging economies. I have discussed...

Update on the Global Carbon Market

The World Bank Carbon Finance Unit recently released its Q3 2006 update for the global market for CO2 emissions (the carbon market). The document, entitled “State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2006��? (PDF file), contains some pretty interesting information that makes it difficult not to be bullish on the future of emissions trading. Here are some numbers. At the end of Q3 2006, the total value of the market stood at $21.5 billion, up 94% on the whole of 2005 ($11.1 billion). Unsurprisingly, Europe, with its Emissions Trading Scheme, continues to account for the bulk (~99%) of...

Carbon Offsets Work – Will the Mainstream Media Ever Get It?

The carbon markets are an area of keen interest for me personally and professionally, so it is always frustrating that the mainstream media largely refuses to learn the details. In general, layman and media who don’t understand the details of the carbon markets attack carbon offsets in two areas, first, questioning whether the credits are for a project that would have occurred anyway (a concept known in carbon as “additionality”), and second questioning whether there are checks and balances to ensure the environmental standards are adhered to and the abatement actually happens (in carbon known as the validation...

Carbon Emissions ETF

Today, while reading an article on cleantech ETFs by The Motley Fool, I found out that XShares Advisors LLC and the Chicago Climate Exchange were working on a carbon emissions-based ETF (PDF document). There is not a lot of info available on what exactly this ETF will track. We reported back in November that UBS had launched an index based on European carbon prices. As noted by Richard Kang at around the same time, this index is well-suited for something like an ETF. If any of our readers have any further insight on this, don't hesitate...

What’s In Store For Emissions Trading Stocks Under An Obama Administration?

All the recent talk about Barack Obama creating a "Climate Czar" position in his administration begs the following question: will Obama dare to implement a nation-wide cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the midst of an economic collapse? While the recent pullback in energy prices will certainly provide some cost relief to energy-intensive industries, which were getting squeezed by rising energy prices, this pullback pales in comparison to the challenges they face in other areas of their businesses right now, and slapping them with complex and potentially-costly new regulation could create significant political backlash. What's more, continued...

Investing in Climate Change

This post was supposed to be about coal-to-liquids (CTL), but I came across interesting info yesterday after opening a former colleague’s mail that I thought would make for a more interesting post. The CTL piece will thus have to wait a bit. What was in the package was a hard copy of the January/February 2007 edition of CNBC European Business. This edition is dedicated to climate change, but, more importantly, to how some firms are positioning themselves to benefit from the markets that will be created as a result of regulatory and other actions to tackle greenhouse gas...

Beware The Vagaries Of Government

I just came across this article on potential problems with the emerging trade in carbon credits. The piece is not technical and I wouldn't say that it is particularly well-researched, but it does raise a key point - as the market for carbon emissions grows, the need for standardization and collaboration between governments and regulators will become ever more pressing. This could create problems. The carbon market is unique in that the commodity traded derives its value primarily from its ability to meet the requirements set by an environmental regulator. There is also a market for voluntary...

Environmental Markets: The Next Frontier in Environmental Investing?

The term environmental markets remains foreign to most investors (and environmentalists!), even though these markets represent, in my view, a very compelling investment story. Although we've discussed trading in carbon emissions in the past, I thought I would expand a bit and talk about environmental markets in general, and about good ways to play them. What's An Environmental Market? Environmental markets exist at the confluence of two movements: (a) A growing desire on the part of national and regional governments in several countries to both limit environmentally-damaging behavior and to promote the growth of alternative...

Competition In Environmental Markets Heats Up

Close followers of the environmental finance space have known it for a while; Climate Exchange (CXCHF.PK or CLE.L) is sitting on a potential gold mine. The market for environmental commodities, but especially carbon emissions, is slated to grow significantly over the next 5 to 7 years. It was therefore only a matter of time before competition sprung up, both from small players trying to leverage their technological platforms and from the big guys. The big guys came out swinging this week, with NYMEX announcing a partnership with JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, among others, to set up a...

Emissions Standards Driving Algae Aviation Fuel Sourcing…or not

by Debra Fiakas CFA Algae in the River Wate photo via BigStock My post “Algae Takes Flight” featured Algae-Tec (ALGXY:  OTC/PK),  Lufthansa’s new biofuel partner.  Algae-Tec has agreed to operate an algae-based biofuel plant in Europe to supply Lufthansa with jet fuel.  Lufthansa is footing the capital costs of the plant, which is to be located in Europe near a carbon source.  Algae thrive on carbon so industrial plants and power plants using fossil fuels make the best neighbors.  Lufthansa has agreed to purchase a...

Is Energy Sourcing the Gateway Drug to Energy Efficiency?

Tom Konrad CFA I recently interviewed Richard Domaleski, CEO of World Energy Solutions (NASD:XWES).  World Energy is a comprehensive energy management services firm whose core offering is extremely price competitive energy sourcing (that is, finding an energy provider to supply all of a client's energy needs at the lowest possible cost.)  They achieve competitive sourcing using an electronic energy exchange designed to achieve much better price discovery in what is traditionally a very opaque market.  According to Domaleski, a recent KEMA study showed that only 7% of large commercial, industrial, and government customers are sourcing their...

Ten Insights into Carbon Policy and Its Implications

On November 27, I attended the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) Fifth Energy Analysis Forum, hosted by NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis & Applications Center.  The forum focused on carbon policy design, the implications for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.  As a stock analyst focused on that sector, I am extremely lucky to have NREL as a local resource: the quality and the level of the experts at NREL and the ones they bring in is probably not matched anywhere in the country, and conferences like these provide priceless insights into what these Energy Analysts are thinking.   Why should investors...

A New Player In The North American Emissions Trading Sector

Over the past two weeks, a couple of announcements were made that went mostly unnoticed despite their importance to the North American carbon marketplace. Firstly, on May 30, the Montreal Exchange, a derivatives exchange, announced that it was launching an emissions trading market for CO2. The Montreal Exchange is now a unit of the TSX Group (TSXPF.PK or X.TO), the firm that runs all of Canada's exchanges. The second announcement came last week, when the premiers of Quebec and Ontario, Canada's two largest provinces and the heart of its industrial base, announced that they were moving ahead...

Climate change, carbon trading and America…it’s only a matter of time

Just a quick follow-up on my carbon trading post a few days ago. Thanks to GreenBiz.com for the heads up on the results of a survey that were released during MIT's seventh annual Carbon Sequestration Initiative Forum. The results show that climate change now tops the list of environmental concerns for Americans. I don't want to reveal too much here since this is a GreenBiz.com story, but it suffices to say that this provides yet more ammunition to the political backers of a framework to reduce greenhouses gases in America. Momentum is building and there will definitely be some...

Wall Street And Climate Change Get Cosier And Cosier…

A couple of interesting news from Wall Street this week in the realm of carbon finance. Firstly, on Tuesday, JP Morgan announced the launch of what is, as far as I can tell, the first ever bond index with a special climate change risk overlay. In the interest of disclosure, I was tangentially involved with this project. While this overlay probably won't have much of an impact in the very near term, it will be interesting to see what happens once constituent firms are all subjected to some form of greenhouse gas regulation. Second, on Thursday, Lehman...