The results of the auction announced by the California Air Resources Board showed that all ‘current’ 2013 allowances, totaling 23.1 million tons, were sold at a price of $10.09, nine cents above the regulator’s minimum (reserve) price of $10 per ton. In addition, about 14 percent of the advance 2015 allowances were sold for $10 per ton. The buyers in the auction were primarily major polluters who will need to pay for their carbon emissions starting in 2013.
The broader public should also be sanguine about the auction results. There was no evidence of any market impropriety, and bidding was brisk for the current auction, with bid volume being three times greater than the volume for sale.
One slightly puzzling result did emerge. The current auction had a much larger bid volume than did the advance auction, where only 5.5 million out of 39.5 million available 2015 allowances were sold. This could mean that companies are waiting to buy these 2015 allowances closer to the compliance date, or possibly, that companies are planning to ramp up new programs to abate future emissions and expect these programs to be more profitable than investments in carbon allowances.