Monday, July 9, 2007

The long arms of Enron reach beyond the grave

Tying a few themes together for me is, with this commentary on Amaranth, carbon trading, Enron and unregulated markets.

But first, let's check in with Bill Gates and PNM (a founder of US-CAP):

PNM Resources and Cascade Investment Agree to Create New Unregulated Energy Company to Serve Growing Markets

Cascade will commit capital for the acquisition of assets and will make significant credit guarantees to increase EnergyCo's scale in its three anticipated business lines:
  • Competitive retail electricity sales;
  • Operation and ownership of diverse generation assets; and
  • Wholesale marketing and trading to optimize its assets.
This press release is from PNM, member of US-CAP.
These boys aren't wasting any time:

...PNM Resources today announced that its joint venture with a subsidiary of Cascade Investment, L.L.C., has agreed to purchase a natural gas-fired cogeneration plant...

...EnergyCo's acquisition of the Lyondell facility is consistent with PNM Resources' previously announced strategy to pursue selective opportunities in the unregulated energy sector through the joint venture. May 29 press release.

Back to

But the best, (or worst) is yet to come.

Consider, for example, this sentence from a New York Times article published Friday describing the increasing popularity of carbon trading in London.

"Carbon will be the world's biggest commodity market, and it could become the world's biggest market over all," said Mr. Redshaw, the head of environmental markets at Barclays Capital.

The implications of that statement are enormous. The goal behind carbon trading is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by providing a financial incentive to cut down on the production of carbon dioxide. Granted, there is plenty of disagreement over whether or not a carbon trading market is the best way to address climate change. Nevertheless, momentum appears to be gathering in favor of expanded markets for trading. So suppose that Mr. Redshaw is correct -- suppose that carbon does become the world's biggest commodity market. There is hardly an aspect of human existence on this planet that will not be affected by trading patterns in carbon markets. How energy is produced and consumed, how industry functions -- the scope of such a market is so vast as to almost be beyond comprehension.