The Siam Cement Biomass Project involves the modification of five cement manufacturing plants in Thailand to enable them to use renewable biomass fuel in place of fossil fuels, leading to substantial greenhouse gas emission reductions as well as significant environmental and socio-economic benefits.
The cement plants previously burned a mix of fossil fuels in their kilns, including coal, lignite (brown coal), pet-coke, and heavy fuel oil. With the implementation of the project these have been largely replaced by renewable biomass from a variety of sources – primarily rice husks but also wood-processing residues and other agricultural waste such as palm trunks, palm fibre and palm nut shells.
Ally Charlton, Climate Friendly’s Carbon Manager, has recently been on a whirlwind tour of Asia visiting some of our carbon offset projects. She was accompanied by Matthew Kronborg from Qantas, who was on a mission to get first-hand evidence that the projects supported through their passenger offset program did indeed exist and were doing what they were supposed to do. In this edition of the Climate Friendly blog Ally reports on the first part of their trip…
"The term ‘whirlwind’ barely does the trip justice – somehow we managed to visit remote project locations in three different countries in just five days. Lack of sleep and excessive air travel emissions aside (we have of course offset the latter!) it was a fantastic trip, enabling us to see the projects in action and hear directly from local project managers, employees and community members about the benefits that they provide.
The first project we visited was in China’s remote Xinjiang Region in the far North West of the country. From Urumqi, the region's capital city, we drove through a long valley between snow-capped mountains, where icy winds are funnelled through a succession of wind farms. The terrain is flat and bleak, with little in the way of vegetation and few signs of life other than the occasional herd of camels, kept by the local people. However, one spot with a scenic back-drop of mountains and wind turbines is apparently a popular location for wedding photos, showing an aesthetic appreciation for the wind farms that is not always shared here in Australia!
The Tasmanian Native Forest Protection Project involves the protection of 7,666 hectares of privately owned land in the Tasmanian Central Highlands. The land in the project area is degraded native forest which has been logged in the past and – in the absence of carbon revenue - would continue to be either selectively logged or cleared for agriculture in the future.
The carbon project provides an alternative source of income to the landowners, enabling them to set the land aside for conservation purposes only, and manage it in a way that encourages natural regeneration of the forest.
The Coc Dam Small Hydro Project is a three-unit hydropower plant, located in the Lao Cai province in northern Vietnam. The project’s total installed capacity is 7.5 MW and it produces approximately 32,000 MWh of renewable electricity per year. The electricity is supplied to the national grid via a Power Purchase Agreement with the Electricity Corporation of Vietnam (EVN).
Greenhouse gas emission reductions are achieved through the use of renewable hydropower to generate electricity, which otherwise would have been generated by fossil-fuel power plants. The project also has local environmental and socio-economic benefits.
The cost of building the plant was substantial. The additional revenue from the sale of carbon credits provided the necessary incentive to justify this investment. Without the carbon revenue the project would not have gone ahead.
The Cambodian Cookstove Project was developed by Cambodia-based NGO, GERES. It involved the development of an improved, energy-efficient cookstove - the New Lao Stove - and the establishment of production and distribution systems to facilitate widespread uptake of the stove.
Close to 90% of the Cambodian population depend daily on fuel-wood and charcoal for cooking purposes. As a consequence, forest resources have become seriously threatened. The New Lao Stove saves 20-30% of wood and charcoal compared to traditional stoves. This increased efficiency provides both monetary and health benefits for users, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping to conserve Cambodia's forests.
The project saved approximately 350,000 tonnes of GHG emissions in 2011 and is growing each year.