* California carbon trade scheme starts in 2013, boosts demand
* Energy projects could make up half of revenue in 2 years-CEO
* Eyes Australia’s emissions reduction scheme
By Susanna Twidale and Nina Chestney
LONDON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Camco International saw a 27 percent rise in the number of California carbon credits issued in the second half of last year as participants geared up for the start of the U.S. state’s emissions trading scheme, the low-carbon project developer said in a trading update on Tuesday.
As of Jan. 6, Camco had 356,061 California carbon credits under management, compared to 281,061 on July 28, 2011.
In the six months to Dec. 31, 2011, the company’s north America carbon credit portfolio increased 25 percent with 2.5 million now under management, boosted by the number of livestock projects it has registered, the firm said.
Camco said nine of its clean energy projects have been registered under the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) standard and it has monetized over 130,000 credits from CAR agricultural projects.
Camco, whose core business is to sell credits to rich countries struggling to meet carbon caps, is one of the biggest developers of clean energy projects and hopes to profit from California’s carbon trading scheme, due to start in 2013.
It is one of the United States’ biggest responses to climate change and demand for California Carbon Offsets (CCOs) under the scheme is expected to be at least 200 million over the period 2013 to 2020.
By 2015, when transportation fuels are brought under the cap, the system will cover 85 percent of the California economy, the eighth largest in the world.
Camco said its $25-million dairy biogas plant in Idaho has started to operate.
The 4.5-MW project produces biogas from cow manure to generate renewable electricity.
Camco chief executive Scott McGregor said the company hopes to complete more similar plants in north America by 2013 and added the move will increase the portion of company revenues that come from energy sales.
“We would expect energy projects to make up 50 percent of Camco’s revenues in around two years time,” he told Point Carbon News, adding that energy revenues would most likely be split equally among North American and Asian projects.
Camco is one of the largest developers of projects under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) - where projects generate carbon credits that can be used for compliance in Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
Earlier in January the company warned it may have to revise its 2011 revenue forecast after Certified Emission Reductions prices plunged 63-percent in 2011.
However, McGregor said CDM projects will remain a core business for the company.
“Carbon is still a key focus for us. We expect stronger prices (in the EU ETS) in the medium term and have a solid post-2012 CDM portfolio,” he said.
Camco is also looking for fresh carbon market opportunities McGregor said, adding the company aims to become active in Australia’s emission reduction scheme.
Last year Australia’s Senate passed legislation that will put a A$23 ($23.8) tax on CO2 emissions from the country’s 500 biggest emitters from July 1, 2012.
The country, a huge mining nation, plans to introduce the world’s biggest carbon trading scheme outside of Europe from July 1, 2015.
Participants in the Australian scheme will be able to use a portion of offset permits from national agricultural projects under the so-called Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) to meet their CO2 targets.
“We are also looking at CFI projects in Australia. They are early stage methodologies at the moment, but we believe there will be good opportunities in the Australian market,” McGreggor said.
Shares in the company, listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market, rose 3.6 percent to 7.27 pence on Tuesday, but remained well below their 23 pence 2011 high.