Carbon trading enjoys record year but set to feel the strain

The global carbon market in 2008 more than doubled in value from 2007 to €92bn ($125bn), according to the recent Carbon Market Monitor report, published by market analysts Point Carbon.

The global carbon market last year grew substantially both in terms of volume and value, which according to Point Carbon, bucked the current downturn trend that has depressed many global commodity trading.

Overall, 2008 saw 4.9 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) change hands, representing an 83 per cent rise on 2007.

However, it appears that carbon trading in 2009 is beginning to show signs of the strain of the continued global economic downturn. A steep decline in industrial production, combined with decreased demand for electricity across Europe – both caused by the economic downturn – have prompted Point Carbon to reduce its carbon emissions forecast by 500m tonnes for the period 2008-2012.

In its most recent Carbon Market Brief Monthly, the EUA price forecast for 2009 stands at €12/tonne, down around €10/tonne on the forecast it published in November.

However, Point Carbon believes that this figure will increase to €19/tonne in 2010 and that by summer 2009 prices will have stabilized.

According to Point Carbon, if government funded economic stimulus packages work effectively, a slight upturn in industrial sectors should be witnessed in 2010.

International renewable energy champion launched without US, UK

TheInternational Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which will promote the use and development of renewable energy, and advise both industrialized and developing nations on reducing fossil fuel use, has been launched in Bonn, Germany.

Founder countries signing up to the agreement include Germany, Spain and the United Arab Emirates. Some 55 governments have committed to full IRENA membership, with a total of 116 countries taking part.

Neither the UK nor the USA have signed up to IRENA, although the latter is expected to under the Obama administration, and the UK will send officials to observe IRENA events.

GDF SUEZ and ADWEA secure $900m financing for Shuweihat 2 IWPP

GDF Suez Energy International and its partner Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) have secured a $900m financing facility for the Middle Eastern country’s Shuweihat 2 independent water and power project (IWPP).

The lenders to the deal include Bayern LB, Calyon, KfW, Natixis, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered.GDF SUEZ owns 40 per cent of Shuweihat 2, with the remaining 60 per cent owned by ADWEA.

An affiliate of ADWEA, the state-owned power and water authority, is the sole off-taker of the output from the IWPP, as stipulated in a 25-year power and water purchase agreement.

The Shuweihat 2 facility is a greenfield, natural gas fired installation that will deliver 1500 MW of electricity and 454 610 m3/ day of water once operational in 2011.

South Africa looks to wind power to address power gap

A spokesman from Eskom, South Africa’s state-run power utility, has said that the utility plans to build 50 wind turbines, each with a 2 MW capacity, before the end of this year to help boost the supply of electricity to the country.

Eskom has struggled to meet South Africa’s growing demand for electricity, and last year it was forced to introduce power rationing, which has hurt the economy, in particular its critical mining industry.

The company said last year it was doubling its spending to 343bn rand ($36.3bn) over the next five years to build new power plants and expand transmission lines.

Sale of Turkish distribution grid firm finalized

A consortium comprising Austrian electricity major Verbund and Sabanci of Turkey, and their joint venture, Enerjisa, have finalized the purchase of the distribution grid company Baskent EDAS from the Turkish government.

The purchase price is close to $1.23bn, and the deal represents the largest privatization project in the Turkish energy market to date.

Turkey’s government is aiming to have a fully liberalized energy market in place by 2011.

Baskent EDAS currently supplies electricity to around 3m customers.

Cuba and Russia create power plant joint venture

Russia’s Inter RAO EES and Cuba’s Union Electrica have agreed on the creation of a joint venture to upgrade hydroelectric and thermoelectric plants in Cuba.

The joint enterprise’s first project is anticipated to be the modernization of the Maximo Gomez thermoelectric plant, located in the western Havana municipality of Mariel.

The Russian-Cuban company will also implement investment projects related to small hydroelectric plants and other power equipment.

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Egypt: The Egyptian energy sector looks set to take the lead in renewables in the Middle East region, according to a government official. Wind farms in the Saidi region are expected to produce 20 per cent of the country’s electricity needs by 2020.

Iran: The country has inaugurated Shiraz, Iran’s first solar power plant. The plant has an initial capacity of 250 kW, with the potential to increase to 500 kW.

Iran: The deputy energy minister for electricity affairs (Aliabad) has announced that 3800 MW of new electricity capacity could be added by the summer of this year, with that increasing to 7000 MW by March 2010.

Jordan: The president of the Jordanian Nuclear Energy Commission has announced a tender to conduct a study of a site in the south of the country for the construction of its first nuclear power plant.

Qatar: The Consolidated Gulf Company and BPL Global have been awarded a contract by Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) for an online transformer monitoring system, which will be installed in all substations as part of its power transmission system expansion.

Rwanda: The initial surveying for what will be the country’s largest hydropower plant, the 27.5 MW Nyabarongo hydro plant, is well underway, according to the Infrastructure Ministry.

Saudi Arabia: ABB has won an order worth $95m from the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) to provide turnkey solutions for five new substations that will help to strengthen the country’s distribution network.

Seychelles: Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s future energy initiative, and the Seychelles government have inked an agreement to develop renewable energy in the Seychelles. An initial target of 18 MW from wind power is envisaged.

UAE: The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s biggest solar power plant is on schedule to be connected to the country’s national grid in March. The 10 MW power plant, which costs over $50m, is designed to support the ongoing construction of the Masdar City.