CDM project in China designed to spare the atmosphere 1.5 million tons of CO2, RWE AG
Release Date: 2009-09-22
Shanxi / Essen, 22 September 2009: Turning potentially harmful mine gas into environmentally-friendly electricity is the goal of a new company founded by RWE Power Climate Protection China – a wholly owned subsidiary of RWE Power – and Chinese investment firm Shanxi Dubao Clean Energy Resources Investment Co. Ltd. The joint venture company named “Bao Lai” is about to develop under the frame of CDM the Wangpo mine gas project in the province of Shanxi. It is designed to stop about 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions escaping into the atmosphere in the next ten years. Other joint projects are planned in this predominantly coal-mining province of China. Methane-rich mine gas is a by-product of hard coal mining and is 21 times more harmful than CO2 in its effect on climate change. It has to be extracted from the mines at regular intervals for safety reasons, but up until now has been left to escape into the atmosphere in its untreated form. By early 2011, this mine gas is destined to be converted by special engines into electricity.
This is one of the climate change initiatives of RWE Power under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) scheme. The scheme stems from an agreement under the Kyoto Protocol, by which power plant operators are entitled to credits under the European Emissions Trading Scheme for any reduced emissions achieved as a result of investment in plants in developing countries. Examples like the use of mine gas in Shanxi show that the application of modern power generation technology to projects in emerging economies and fast-developing countries with rapidly increasing rates of energy consumption are an effective tool for international climate protection policy.
“This makes it all the more regrettable that the future of such worthwhile CDM measures has been thrown into question by some recent decisions of the EU”, said Ludwig Kons, Head of Climate Protection at RWE Power. “In the interests of combating climate change, it would be vital and invaluable for the EU, in its deliberations about the future of CDM post-2012, to vote for the continued existence of the mechanism and unlimited access to carbon credits for any international emission reductions achieved by European companies”. He added that “CDM is the best tool for cost-effectively combating climate change. The example of Bao Lai demonstrates that not only capital investment but, more importantly, climate protection expertise is being transferred in this way to emerging and fast-developing nations.”
The joint venture was signed simultaneously with a general agreement between the mine gas initiative of the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia and the North-Eastern province of Shanxi in Chinese Taiyuan. “I am pleased that RWE Power has contributed to the process of signing and sealing this first joint venture” said Michael Gessner, Head of the Department of Energy, Climate Protection and Mining in the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy of North-Rhine Westphalia. Under the general agreement, companies from North-Rhine Westphalia jointly involved in the mine gas initiative will be supported in their efforts to develop and implement further specific ventures with Chinese industrial partners.