California holds first auction of greenhouse gas allowances

(Nanowerk News) The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced the results of the state's first auction for greenhouse gas allowances under its cap-and-trade program. Allowances for the equivalent of 28.7 million tons of CO2 emissions were sold at the auction on November 14th, 2012. greenhouse gas emissions
Allowances for the equivalent of 28.7 million tons of CO2 emissions were auctioned, near the floor price of USD 10 each
In doing so, California has joined the EU, India, Australia and other nations in putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions. During the auction all 23.1 million 2013 allowances sold at a median price of USD 10.09 each, with 5.58 million, or roughly 14% of the 2015 allowances, also selling in advance.

"The auction was a success and an important milestone for California as a leader in the global clean tech market," stated ARB Chair Mary Nichols.

"The goal was to sell people as many bids as we could, down to the lowest bidding price. We were extremely successful in doing that."

Qualified bidders include main utilities, oil companies

The ARB is not releasing information on who bought allowances or how many they bought. However, the agency has made public a list of qualified bidders which features the state's major public and private utilities, including Pacific Gas & Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Southern California Edison, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

A number of wholesale electricity generators including Sempra Generation and NRG Power Marketing are also on the list, as are the world's largest oil and gas companies including Exxon-Mobil, Shell and BP.
ARB notes that 97% of the allowances in the 2013 auction were purchased by "compliance entities", as were 91% of the 2015 allowances purchased, meaning that few allowances went to speculators.
Proceeds to be refunded to electricity customers
Prices came in near the floor price of USD 10.00 per allowance, equal to one ton of carbon. The USD 233 million raised from the 2013 auction will be distributed to the state's investor-owned utilities, to be refunded to customers to offset increases in electricity costs.
The USD 55.8 million raised from the 2015 auction will be deposited in a special fund in the California treasury.
Source: California Air Resources Board