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Australian opposition releases nuclear power plan

  • : Electricity, Emissions
  • 24/06/19

Australia's main political opposition today laid out its nuclear energy plan. It aims to bring the first government-owned reactors on line as early as 2035-37 if it is elected next year.

The Liberal-National coalition announced seven locations where small modular reactors (SMRs) or large-scale units could be installed, all in sites hosting coal-fired power facilities that have either closed or are scheduled to close, and each of them would have cooling water capacity and transmission infrastructure. A SMR could start generating electricity by 2035, while a larger plant could come on line by 2037, according to the coalition.

"The Australian government will own these assets, but form partnerships with experienced nuclear companies to build and operate them," the opposition's leader Peter Dutton, spokesman for climate change and energy Ted O'Brien and National party leader David Littleproud said in a joint statement on 19 June.

The opposition claims the federal Labor government's "renewables-only approach" is expensive and is "failing", while its target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 43pc by 2030 has become "unachievable". The coalition earlier this month said it would not pursue the target, although it declined to set its own 2030 goal for GHG emissions cuts.

Federal energy minister Chris Bowen said the coalition's plan lacked detail, costs or modelling, although the opposition has vowed to engage with local communities while site studies, including detailed technical and economic assessments, take place. The proposed sites are the Liddell and Mount Piper plants in New South Wales; the Tarong and Callide stations in Queensland; the Loy Yang facility in Victoria; the Northern Power station in South Australia; and the Muja plant in Western Australia.

Nuclear power generation is prohibited in Australia under federal and state laws, and the Labor government last year ruled out legalising it because of its high costs. The Australian federal government estimates that replacing Australia's coal-fired plants with nuclear would cost A$387bn ($257bn).

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) late last year said SMRs would not have "any major role" in emission cuts needed in the electricity sector for the country to reach its net zero GHG emissions target by 2050, as costs would be well above those for onshore wind and solar photovoltaic (PV). Nuclear plants would also take 15 years or more to be deployed because of lengthy periods for certification, planning and construction, CSIRO noted.

CSIRO last month included large-scale nuclear costs for the first time in its annual GenCost report, saying costs would be lower than those for SMRs but still way above renewables. Estimated costs between A$136-226/MWh could be reached by 2040, compared with A$171-366/MWh for SMRs and A$144-239/MWh for coal-fired power with carbon capture and storage (CCS), but only if Australia committed to a "continuous nuclear building programme", requiring an initial investment in a higher cost unit.

"If a decision to pursue nuclear in Australia were made in 2025, with political support for the required legislative changes, then the first full operation would be no sooner than 2040," CSIRO noted.


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24/07/18

'Urgent action' needed for UK to hit net zero goals

'Urgent action' needed for UK to hit net zero goals

London, 18 July (Argus) — The UK increased the rate at which it reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions last year, but "urgent action" is needed for the country to meet its targets in 2030 and beyond, independent advisory body Climate Change Committee (CCC) said in its progress report published today. The report assesses the UK's progress towards its net zero goals against policy set out by the previous Conservative government. The new Labour government, which has been in power since 5 July, has already set the scene for a stronger decarbonisation agenda , but it "will have to act fast to hit the country's commitments", the report says. The committee tracked progress on 28 key indicators. Of the 22 that have a benchmark or target, only five are assessed as being "on track". The UK's GHG emissions last year stood at 393mn t/CO2 equivalent (CO2e), down on the year by 5.4pc, or 22mn t/CO2e, provisional data show. This estimate excludes contributions from international aviation and shipping, as these are not included in the UK's 2030 target of a 68pc cut in GHG emissions from a 1990 baseline. And last year's reduced emissions resulted primarily from a drop in gas demand, the CCC says. Combined gas demand in 2023 averaged 156mn m³/d, down from nearly 175mn m³/d a year earlier. While progress has been made, the previous administration "signalled a slowing of pace and reversed or delayed key policies", the report says. The reduction in emissions last year is "roughly in line with the annual pace of change needed" to reach the 2030 target, but the average annual rate over the previous seven years is "insufficient", the committee says. In its first days in office, the new government placed a strong emphasis on decarbonising electricity, but this is "not enough on its own", CCC acting chief executive James Richardson said. The average annual rate of GHG reduction outside the electricity supply sector over the previous seven years was 6.3mn t/CO2e, but this will need to more than double until 2030 if the UK is to meet its targets, the CCC says. In order to reach targets, "annual offshore wind installations must increase by at least three times, onshore wind installations will need to double and solar installations must increase by five times" by 2030. By comparison, oil and gas use should be "rapidly" reduced and the expansion of the production of fossil fuels should be limited, according to the report. The CCC also recommended that about 10pc of UK homes will need to be heated by a heat pump by 2030, in comparison with about 1pc today. The committee criticised the exemption of 20pc of properties from the 2035 phase-out gas boiler plan, saying it is "unclear" how the exemption would reduce costs as fewer consumers would have to pay to maintain the distribution grid. Gas-fired power generation in recent months has dropped on the back of high wind output and brisk power imports. Power-sector gas burn was 25mn m³/d in March-June, roughly half of the three-year average for the period. But if UK power demand increases with electrification, gas-fired power generation could maintain its role in the country's power mix, particularly if it is combined with carbon capture, use and storage technology, for which fast development and scale-up will need to happen this decade, the CCC says. "Biases" towards the use of natural gas or hydrogen must be removed where electrification is the most economical decarbonisation solution in an industry sector. Power prices need to be reduced "to a level that incentivises industrial electrification". Oil, gas industry to meet climate goals The UK's oil and gas sector "is on track to meet its own climate goals and is not slowing down", offshore industries association OEUK said today in reaction to the CCC's report. The UK needs a plan for reducing oil and gas demand and cutting its reliance on imports, according to OEUK chief executive David Whitehouse. "We should be prioritising our homegrown energy production," he said. The sector reduced its emissions by 24pc in 2022 from 2018, meaning it met its target to reduce emissions by 10pc by 2025 early. The industry halved its flaring and venting and cut methane emissions by 45pc in 2022 compared with 2018, Whitehouse said. OEUK plans to reduce emissions by a quarter by 2027 and by half by 2030 against 2018 levels. And it aims to achieve net zero by 2050. By Georgia Gratton and Jana Cervinkova Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

EU’s von der Leyen re-elected as Commission president


24/07/18
24/07/18

EU’s von der Leyen re-elected as Commission president

Brussels, 18 July (Argus) — The European Parliament today approved Ursula von der Leyen's re-election as president of the European Commission. Nominated by EU states in June, von der Leyen received 401 votes, by secret ballot, from parliament's 720 newly elected members. Von der Leyen called for continuing climate and energy policy in her 2024-29 mandate to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) cuts of at least 90pc by 2040 from 1990 levels. "I have not forgotten how [Russian president Vladimir] Putin blackmailed us by cutting us off from Russian fossil fuels. We invested massively in homegrown cheap renewables. And this enabled us to break free from dirty Russian fossil fuels," said von der Leyen, promising to end the "era of dependency on Russian fossil fuels". She did not give an end date for this, nor did she specify if this includes a commitment to end Russian LNG imports. Von der Leyen went on to detail political guidelines for 2024-29. In the first 100 days of her new mandate, she pledged to propose a "clean industrial deal", albeit without giving concrete figures about how much investment this would channel to infrastructure and industry, particularly for energy-intensive sectors. The clean industrial deal will help bring down energy bills, she said. Von der Leyen told parliament the commission would propose legislation, under the European Climate Law, establishing a 90pc emission-reduction target for 2040. Her political guidelines also call for scaling up and prioritising clean-tech investment, including in grid infrastructure, storage capacity, transport infrastructure for captured CO2, energy efficiency, power digitalization, and deployment of a hydrogen network. She will also extend aggregate demand mechanisms beyond gas to include hydrogen and critical raw materials. Her political guidelines note the dangers of dependencies or fraying supply chains, from Putin's "energy blackmail" or China's monopoly on battery and chip raw materials. Majority report Passing the necessary legislation to implement her stated policies will now require approval from EU states and from parliament. Unless amplified by Germany's election next year, election victories by far-right parties in France and elsewhere appear not to threaten EU state majorities for specific legislation. Parliament's political centre-left S&D and liberal Renew groups, as well as von der Leyen's own centre-right EPP, have elaborated key policy requests . These broadly call for the continuation of von der Leyen's Green Deal, the set of legislation and policy measures aimed at 55pc GHG emission reduction by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. A symbolic issue for von der Leyen to decide, or compromise on, is the internal combustion engine (ICE). Her EPP group wants to stick to technological neutrality and to revise the phase-out, by 2035, of new ICE cars if they cannot run exclusively on carbon-neutral fuels. The EPP wants an EU e-fuel, biofuel, and low-carbon fuel strategy. Von der Leyen's guidelines reflect the need to gain support from centre-right, centre-left, and greens. For the ICE phase-out, she said the 2035 climate neutrality target for new cars creates investor and manufacturer "predictability" but requires a "technology-neutral approach, in which e-fuels have a role to play." She made no mention of carbon-neutral biofuels. It will be impossible for von der Leyen to satisfy all demands in her second mandate. That includes policy asks put forward by the EPP, ranging from a "pragmatic" definition of low-carbon hydrogen, market rules for carbon capture and storage, postponing the EU's deforestation regulation, to catering more for farmers, even by scrapping EU wildlife protection for wolves and bears. EU member states are expected to propose their candidates for commissioners in August, including those responsible for energy, climate, and trade policies. When parliament has held hearings for candidates in late October, von der Leyen's new commission would then be subject to a final vote. By Dafydd ab Iago Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Urgent action needed for UK to hit net zero goals: CCC


24/07/17
24/07/17

Urgent action needed for UK to hit net zero goals: CCC

London, 17 July (Argus) — The UK increased the rate of reduction in its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2023, but "urgent action" is needed if the country is to hit its targets in 2030 and beyond, the independent advisory Climate Change Committee (CCC) found today. The report assessed the UK's progress towards its net zero goals against policy set out by the previous Conservative government. The new Labour government, which has been in power since 5 July, has already set the scene for a stronger decarbonisation agenda . But it "will have to act fast to hit the country's commitments", the CCC said. The committee tracked progress on 28 key indicators. Of the 22 that have a benchmark or target, just five are assessed as "on track". The UK's GHG emissions stood at 393mn t/CO2 equivalent (CO2e) in 2023, down by 5.4pc, or 22mn t/CO2e, on the year, provisional data show. This estimate excludes contributions from international aviation and shipping, as these are not included in the UK's 2030 target of a 68pc cut in GHG emissions, from a 1990 baseline. The UK's GHG emissions including the country's share of international aviation and shipping were 423.3mn t/CO2e in 2023, preliminary data show, 49.5pc lower than in 1990. The drop in GHGs has largely been driven by the decrease in coal-fired power generation over that time span. Although progress has been made, the previous administration "signalled a slowing of pace and reversed or delayed key policies", the CCC noted. The reduction in GHG emissions in 2023 is "roughly in line with the annual pace of change needed" to hit the 2030 target, but the average annual rate over the previous seven years is "insufficient", the committee added. The UK's 2030 emissions reduction goal is the first in line with reaching net zero by 2050. The new government has placed strong focus on decarbonising electricity in its first days in office, but this is "not enough on its own", CCC acting chief executive James Richardson said. The average annual rate of GHG reduction outside the electricity supply sector over the previous seven years was 6.3mn t/CO2e, but this will need to more than double to 2030 if the UK is to meet its targets, the CCC found. The committee found that in order to reach targets, "annual offshore wind installations must increase by at least three times, onshore wind installations will need to double and solar installations must increase by five times" by 2030, while oil and gas use should be "rapidly" reduced. The CCC also recommended that around 10pc of UK homes will need to be heated by a heat pump by 2030, in comparison to approximately 1pc today. And the market share of new electric cars needs to increase to "nearly 100pc" by 2030, from a current share of 16.5pc. Labour pledged in its manifesto to restore the 2030 phase-out date for sales of new gasoline or diesel-fuelled cars, while it has set ambitious targets for renewable energy installations and pledged zero-carbon power by 2030. It has also committed to no new oil, gas or coal licences. By Georgia Gratton Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Climate finance goal is top priority: Cop 29 president


24/07/17
24/07/17

Climate finance goal is top priority: Cop 29 president

London, 17 July (Argus) — Addressing and aiming to finalise a new climate finance goal will be the "centrepiece" of the UN Cop 29 climate summit, the event's president, Mukhtar Babayev said today. Cop 29 is scheduled to take place in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 11-22 November. Babayev — officially Cop president-designate until the summit begins — is the country's ecology and natural resources minister. The Cop 29 presidency's "top negotiating priority is agreeing a fair and ambitious" new climate finance goal — known as the new collective quantified goal (NCQG) — Babayev wrote in a letter to countries and other stakeholders. He had previously been clear that finance will be a key topic at Cop 29. The NCQG represents the next stage of the $100bn/yr of climate finance that developed countries agreed to deliver to developing countries over 2020-25. But much is still up for discussion and must be finalised at Cop 29, including the amounts involved and timeframe. Babayev noted "disagreements", flagging that "the politically complex issues will not be solved by negotiators alone". The Cop 29 presidency has appointed Egyptian environment minister Yasmine Fouad and Danish climate minister Dan Jorgensen to lead consultations on the NCQG, Babayev said today. Announcements on ministerial pairs for other issues are expected in September, he said. "Adopting the NCQG will be a pivotal moment for whether parties can make progress on the means of implementation and support, and the Paris Agreement more broadly", Babayev said. Climate finance needs a "substantial increase", and the presidency "will spare no efforts to act as a bridge between the developed and developing nations", he added. Babayev also called for more financial pledges to the loss and damage fund , which countries agreed at Cop 27 to establish, to address the unavoidable effects of climate change in vulnerable countries. He encouraged all countries to submit national climate plans — known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — aligned with the Paris agreement, which seeks to limit the rise in global temperature to "well below" 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and preferably to 1.5°C. "The Cop 29 presidency will lead by example", Babayev said. Azerbaijan and its "Troika" partners, Cop 28 host the UAE and Cop 30 host Brazil, are working on 1.5°C-aligned NDCs, he said. The Article 6 mechanism of the Paris agreement, which relates to international carbon trading, will also be a priority at Cop 29, Babayev said. The presidency "is committed to finalising the operationalisation of Article 6 this year", he added. Cop 28 ended without a deal on Article 6, but "in recent months… there was clear will to advance work" on the topic, Babayev said. By Georgia Gratton Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

New Zealand, Australia carbon brokerage rivalry builds


24/07/17
24/07/17

New Zealand, Australia carbon brokerage rivalry builds

Sydney, 17 July (Argus) — Commodities broker Marex announced today it opened an office in New Zealand and launched a new carbon trading platform for local emissions units, days after New Zealand competitor Jarden rolled out its own trading platform in Australia. Marex will initially focus on execution and clearing services across carbon, electricity and dairy sectors in New Zealand, in both listed and over-the-counter products. Its New Zealand-based and global clients will also be able to trade New Zealand emissions units (NZUs) in a newly launched platform called Neon Carbon. New Zealand clients will have access to clearing directly through Marex on the Singapore Exchange and Australian Securities Exchange, with the latter planning to soon launch physically settled futures contracts for Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), large-scale generation certificates (LGCs) and NZUs . The new Marex team will be led by Nigel Brunel, formerly Jarden's head of commodities in New Zealand. Jarden is considered to have the biggest share of the brokered NZU market through its CommTrade spot trading platform, followed by domestic trading platforms CarbonMatch and emsTradepoint, which is operated by state-owned electricity transmission system operator Transpower New Zealand's Energy Market Services. CommTrade expansion Marex has hired several other former Jarden brokers in recent months in New Zealand and Australia, as it looks to expand its environmental products business across Asia-Pacific . But the increasing brokerage competition in Australia with growing trading volumes for ACCUs in recent years prompted Jarden to roll out CommTrade in the Australian market. Jarden's clients in Australia had until now only a price display mechanism for ACCUs. But they are now able to directly input bids and offers through CommTrade, with real-time matching capabilities displayed on screen. "Transactions remain anonymous until matched, after which clients receive a contract note from Jarden detailing settlement terms," Jarden announced late last week. All transactions are settled directly through the company, with clients also able to trade other products such as LGCs. Marex told Argus it would not be able to share any product details on Neon Carbon at this stage. UK-based broker Icap entered the New Zealand carbon trading market earlier this year with the acquisition of domestic brokerage firm Aotearoa Energy, while several other brokers have entered the ACCU market in recent years. By Juan Weik Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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