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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: EU ETS Delay, Wind PTC, Airline Bill

The European Commission proposed a delay in the EU ETS auction of 900 million carbon emission allowances currently scheduled for sale between 2013 and-2015. The allowances would be auctioned sometime later in the auction phase, which runs until 2020. The price of allowances was €9 on Monday, up nearly 9 percent since the previous close in anticipation of the proposal, Reuters said.

Republican governors from states with a heavy wind presence are asking lawmakers in Congress to support a renewal of the wind production tax credit. The tax credit gives wind companies 2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour produced, with a one-year extension estimated to cost about $5 billion. Meanwhile, the American Wind Energy Association says ending the credit would cost the nation 37,000 jobs, The Hill said.

Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley, instigator of the 22-year-old production tax credit, said the credit is linked to negotiations in Congress over tax and spending issues. Obama campaigned in support of renewing the tax credit while many Republicans are opposed to supports for the renewable energy sector, including wind. Republican Senator Lamar Alexander from Tennessee said the country can no longer afford energy credits for “Big Oil and Big Wind,” Reuters said.

The House passed legislation that prohibits US airlines from paying the EU to offset their carbon emissions. Members said that the House needs to act to protect US airlines in the longer term since the EU only delayed airlines’ inclusion in the cap-and-trade program until 2014, The Hill said.

The Union of Concerned Scientists said in a report yesterday that US utilities could retire as many as 353 coal-fired plants – totaling 59 GW, or more than six percent of US electric generating capacity – because of the prohibitive cost of pollution controls. But many of these plants have already outlived their 30-year lifespan, the group said, according to Bloomberg.

The US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has a full committee legislative hearing today on the Water Resources Development Act of 2012. Witnesses include representatives from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the National Association of Flood and Storm Management Agencies.

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