The EU carbon price is around $6 per ton.
The San Antonio Express-News reports:
In a June 25 speech, President Barack Obama vowed his administration will approve the multibillion-dollar pipeline only if it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”
“The net effects of the pipeline’s impacts on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward,” the president said.
Obama’s emphasis on the “net effects” of the pipeline and whether it “significantly” exacerbates greenhouse emissions suggest TransCanada could take steps to make up for the 830,000 metric tons per year of carbon dioxide the State Department estimated would be linked to Keystone XL.
While U.S. officials couldn’t compel such action, “it might be a behind-the-scenes wink and a nod,” ClearView Energy Partners analyst Kevin Book said.
For TransCanada Corp., the Calgary-based company behind Keystone XL, options include greening its own portfolio by investing in renewable power and buying carbon offsets. Keystone XL supporters also can argue that Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia already tax carbon.
TransCanada might have taken the first step already. Last Tuesday, the company announced it was paying $470 million to buy 86 megawatts of solar capacity in Ontario.
CEO Russ Girling touted the deal as part of a companywide move to the greener and cleaner. TransCanada already has sunk more than $5 billion into U.S. hydropower facilities and wind farms in the U.S. and Canada.
“One-third of the power we provide to North American consumers today comes from carbon-free energy sources,” Girling said.
Spread over 20 years, the cost of the carbon emission displaced by TransCanada’s new solar investment amounts to as much as $857 per metric ton, making it an expensive offset, according to ClearView Energy’s number crunching.
But the real value isn’t numeric, Book said.
“Solar sends a message that buying offsets in the market does not,” he said. “It says ‘we’re changing us.’”