Italy has become the latest country to commit to the introduction of a carbon tax, in a move aimed at generating funds for the nation’s renewable energy production. The Italian government announced the plan after a cabinet meeting late on Monday, having raised the 2020 renewable energy targets last week while cutting production incentives to solar and other green energy. The tax, an excise on the carbon content of fuels, is part of fiscal measures aimed to help boost Italy’s sluggish economy, reports Reuters. The government plans to impose excise duties on energy products depending on their carbon content, in line with EU plans, and will coordinate the launch of the measures with other EU countries, the government said in a statement. The proposals will have to be approved by the Italian parliament to become law.
Meanwhile, a coalition representing around 80 investment firms and pension funds that boast a combined €7.5 trillion in assets under management, has issued an open letter to EU ministers calling on them to reform the ETS and force up the price of carbon. The intervention by the the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), which BusinessGreen has described as one of the most significant to date, was staged on Wednesday, ahead of a crucial meeting of EU energy and climate change ministers in Brussels on Thursday. The ministers are expected to revisit the vexed subject of whether to hold back carbon allowances in order to tackle the market’s chronic oversupply, that has resulted in the carbon price reaching record lows of under €7 a tonne.
BusinessGreen reports that the letter from the IIGCC – which includes Aviva Investors, the BBC Pension Trust, BNP Paribas, Co-operative Asset Management, HSBC Investments, and Scottish Widows Investment Partnership – argued that a combination of the economic downturn, energy efficiency improvements, and the increased supply of carbon offset credits had created an oversupply in the carbon market that meant it was no longer providing a sufficient incentive for firms to switch to cleaner sources of energy. “The European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme is not producing the outcomes originally envisaged and needs fixing,” said Stephanie Pfeifer, executive director of the IIGCC, in a statement. “At under €7 per tonne, the carbon price is not even high enough to support a switch from coal to gas.” The group also supports calls for an increase in the EU’s emission reduction target for 2020 from the current goal of 20 per cent, arguing that this would similarly help remove oversupply from the market.
World wind gains
A new five-year industry forecast published Wednesday by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has predicted that more than 46GW of new wind energy capacity will be installed globally this year, and that total global wind power capacity by the end of 2016 will be just under 500GW. CleanTechnica reports that the forecast, details of which were revealed at the EWEA 2012 Conference in Copenhagen on Wednesday, also project average annual market growth rates of around 8 per cent a year for the next five years, with a strong 2012 and a big dip in 2013, because of the presumed failure to extend or implement important government incentives and rebates. Total installation capacity for the 2012 to 2016 period is expected to reach 255GW.
“For the next five years, annual market growth will be driven primarily by India and Brazil, with significant contributions from new markets in Latin America, Africa and Asia,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General. “While the market continues to diversify across all continents, it is at the same time plagued by continued slow economic growth and budget crises in the OECD, as well as the continuing credit crunch.”
Panax continues search of funds
Australian geothermal aspirant Panax says it insists interest in its proposed capital raising for a portfolio of geothermal projects in Indonesia remains strong, although the deal is taking “longer than expected” to bring to a conclusion. The company says in its quarterly report that it is talking to a number of “well known internationally based and Australian based parties”, and says there is a “keen interest and understanding” of the long term potential and attraction of its geothermal development opportunities in Indonesia. The company is looking to develop the projects in partnership with the Indonesian company PT Bakrie Power. Origin Energy is also pursuing geothermal energy developments in Indonesia.
Plimer goes for gold
Rio Tinto has appointed prominent climate sceptic Ian Plimer as interim chairman of Vancouver based Ivanhoe Mines, after winning a battle for control of the company with its founder, the 61-year-old sef made billionair Robert Friedland. Friedland setepped won as CEO this week, along with other members of management and the board, after ceding control to Rio, who immediately appointed Plimer as chairman. Ivanhoe hopes to develop its main asset, the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia, which holds some of the world’s largest unexploited copper and gold deposits.