Energy Transition

Record annual revenues from carbon pricing, and other top energy stories

Factory smoke.

This round-up brings you the key energy stories from the energy sector over recent weeks. Image: Unsplash/Anne Nygård

Roberto Bocca
Head, Centre for Energy and Materials; Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum
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  • This round-up brings you the key energy stories from the energy sector over recent weeks.
  • Top energy stories: Carbon-pricing revenues set new annual record; South Africa could delay coal plant closures; SUVs accounted for almost half of global new car sales in 2023.
  • For more on the World Economic Forum’s work in the energy space, visit the Centre for Energy and Materials.

1. Annual carbon-pricing revenues pass $100 billion

Carbon pricing revenues reached a record $104 billion in 2023, with over half of the collected revenue being used to fund climate and nature-related programmes, according to the World Bank's latest State and Trends of Carbon Pricing report.

When the report was first released 11 years ago, carbon taxes and emissions trading systems accounted for 7% of the world’s emissions, but in the 2024 edition, this has risen to 24%.

The World Bank also highlights the progress made in carbon pricing implementation by large, middle-income countries such as Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India and Türkiye.

Greenhouse gas emissions covered by carbon taxes and emissions trading systems between 1990 and 2024
The percentage of emissions covered by carbon taxes and emissions trading systems has surged in recent years. Image: World Bank

“Carbon pricing can be one of the most powerful tools to help countries reduce emissions. That’s why it is good to see these instruments expand to new sectors, become more adaptable and complement other measures,” Axel van Trotsenburg, Senior Managing Director at the World Bank, said.

However, the report’s authors point out that less than 1% of global emissions are currently subject to a direct carbon price at or above what is recommended by the High-level Commission on Carbon Prices to limit global temperature rise to well below 2ºC.

2. South Africa explores delaying coal closure

South Africa’s public utility company, Eskom, is in discussions to delay the closure of some of its coal plants, Reuters reports.

Speaking at an energy conference in Cape Town, the company’s chief executive, Dan Marokane, said Eskom was engaging with groups currently helping to fund its switch to greener power about delaying the closure of some coal power stations until 2030.

Eskom's Head of Generation, Bheki Nxumalo, added that some of the 10 units at the coal-fired Hendrina Power Generation had already been shut. “There is no plan to bring those other three or four units back because as we continue to improve the availability then the pressure becomes less,” he said.

3. News in brief: More energy stories from around the world

China plans to buy up to 15,000 tonnes of cobalt from local producers over the coming months, Reuters' sources say. They added that this would be a record purchase by the country for the chemical element, which is vital for manufacturing electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

Governments and companies committed $2.2 billion to fund cleaner cooking methods across Africa at the International Energy Agency's (IEA) Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa. However, IEA estimates show $4 billion annual investment is needed to give households in Africa access to clean cooking methods by 2030, the Financial Times says.

US electricity use from EVs jumped by more than 50% year-on-year in the first two months of 2024. New data from the US Energy Information Administration found that total electricity consumption by EVs was 1.58 million megawatt hours (MWh) in January and February 2024, a 52% rise from the 1.04 million MWh for the same period in 2023.

Australia’s rooftop solar capacity will eclipse the country’s entire electricity demand in the coming decades, ABC News reports. Almost 20 gigawatts of small-scale solar had already been installed across Australia’s biggest electricity system, but this would more than triple by 2054, according to even their most conservative estimates, a report from Green Energy Markets has found.

India's crude oil vessels for shipping refined fuels like diesel to key European markets slowed in May. This follows a near two-year high in April, according to ship-tracking data from Kpler, Vortexa and LSEG.

The UK’s National Grid is preparing for its largest rights issue since 2009. More than 1 billion new shares are expected to raise around £7 billion as the company gears up to invest £60 billion in energy networks.

4. More on energy from Agenda

Energy literacy is an understanding of the complexity behind the green transformation, including its scope and scale. Malaysia is rolling out a programme that aims to enhance this understanding in the country's young people. Read more here.

India plans to invest over $35 billion annually in clean hydrogen, energy storage and carbon capture by 2030. Find out more about how these ambitious targets are helping the country become a global powerhouse in advanced energy solutions.

The need for a just energy transition was a key topic of discussion at the World Economic Forum’s Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development. This is what four of the world’s leading voices on the issue had to say during the event in Riyadh.

With the ongoing digital transformation, AI growth, increasing demands on mobile data networks and cryptocurrency mining, data volumes are mushrooming. Energy innovation and collaboration across sectors are needed to meet this demand sustainably. Read more here.

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