Utility Seeks Renewable Energy for GHG Offsets

A large hydroelectric utility wants to obtain greenhouse gas offsets from renewable energy facilities anywhere in the world.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, CA, 2002-01-24 [SolarAccess.com] BC Hydro has issued an international request for proposals for 5.5 million tonnes of GHG offsets. It is seeking proposals for projects involving renewable energy, landfill gas, energy efficiency, fuel switching, industrial process improvements, agricultural waste management or other technology. It wants to acquire offsets occurring between 2002 and 2020, with a minimum project size of 100,000 tonnes. BC Hydro is Canada’s third largest electric utility, and has voluntarily committed to offset 50 percent of the increase in GHG emissions at two new natural gas-fired electricity generation plants, which will emit 5.5 megatonnes. The commitment is one of the most aggressive in the world, the company claims, and supports its goal of becoming the leading sustainable energy company in North America. A GHG offset is a reduction in emissions at one source that compensates for emissions at another source. Offsets are recognized in the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement to reduce emissions that are linked with climate change. Trading is also known as carbon credits, and is an emerging business opportunity that can make a significant difference to project economics, explains the utility, and encourages developers of capital projects that reduce or avoid GHG emissions to explore similar opportunities. Submissions must be made to BC Hydro by May 1. Negotiations with promising opportunities should lead to signed contracts by late this year or early 2003. Growing population and increasing demand for electricity on Vancouver Island, combined with aging submarine electricity transmission cables, prompted the utility to announce plans to build the 240 MW Island Cogeneration project in Campbell River and the 265 MW Vancouver Island generation projects at a site to be determined. Combined, the two facilities will increase GHG emissions by 1.3 megatonnes a year. A request for domestic offset proposals was issued in 2000, and several projects are being negotiated. This RFP is to solicit GHG offsets anywhere in the world, instead of only in Canada. Emission reduction, emission avoidance or geological sequestration will be considered by BC Hydro, which will not consider biological sequestration projects, such as afforestation or soil sequestration, under this request. It will not consider offsets from projects already operating or under construction. It will give preferences to projects that deliver at least 50,000 tonnes of CO2 offsets for ten years. Preference will also be given to projects that generate non-GHG environmental benefits, and for projects that generate social and/or economic benefits such as job creation, skill development and opportunities for disadvantaged groups. The six greenhouse gases listed under the Kyoto Protocol are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.

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