LONDON (Reuters) - A United Nations climate panel approved 32 Chinese wind farms for carbon financing under the Kyoto Protocol late last week, but blocked another six after rejecting eight similar projects in December.
The approved wind farms will cut greenhouse gas emissions by some 11.3 million metric tones by the end of 2012, the year the current Kyoto pact expires, according to UN data.
Under Kyoto’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), companies can invest in clean energy projects in emerging economies, and in return receive offset credits, only if they can show the projects would not have gone ahead without the prospect of revenues from selling those credits.
After noting a drop in financial support from Beijing in the form of tariffs, the CDM’s executive board rejected 10 wind farms in December, saying they were profitable and capable of cutting emissions without receiving the offsets, called Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs).
The board on Friday said two of those were rejected by mistake, bringing the total rejected in December to eight.
At its latest meeting, the board fully registered 13 Chinese wind farms while conditionally approving another 19 subject to minor corrections in their applications.
The latest six rejected Chinese wind farms, five of which were in the province of Heilongjiang, would have generated 2.1 million metric tones of CERs by 2012. The panel also rejected six other clean energy projects, four of which were in China.
According to UN data, the 12 rejected projects would have generated around 3.8 million CERs before 2012, worth 44 million euros ($59.91 million) based on Friday’s closing spot CER price of 11.58 euros a tonne.
The projects’ investors included U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs, Japanese government agency NEDO, Dutch firm Essent Energy Trading and UK-based Climate Change Capital.
Companies participating in the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme rely on a steady flow of offsets to help them meet emissions cut targets, and disruptions to the CER supply can cause carbon prices to rise.
The board also fully registered 17 hydro projects including 15 from China, which will generate 8.2 million CERs by 2012.
Experts had said the projects faced similar registration risks to those plaguing the Chinese wind projects.
In an effort to extend the reach of the CDM, the board agreed to defer registration fees for projects in countries that are home to less than 10 registered projects. Registration fees are due only after the projects have been issued their first CERs, the board said.
Of the 80 developing countries participating in the CDM, 53 nations, or two thirds, fall into this category, UN data showed.
The CDM’s board also said it is waiving registration fees for projects in the world’s least developed countries (LDCs).
The UN made $56.6 million in CDM revenues in 2009 including $17.1 million in registration fees, the board said in its meeting report.
At its last meeting in December, the board said it would conduct spot checks on emissions auditors TUV-Sud and TUV-Nord.
On Friday it said it would review the outcome of these spot checks at its next meeting in Bonn, Germany on March 22-26.
Reporting by Nina Chestney and Michael Szabo; Editing by Michael Urquhart