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Bahamas Waste gets $50K carbon financing

Published On:Monday, May 30, 2011
Business Reporter
A renewable energy consulting firm believes the Bahamas is well-positioned to benefit from offsetting carbon emissions, with BISX-listed Bahamas Waste receiving $50,000 in "carbon financing" so far for its "green" efforts.

In doing so, it has become the first Bahamian company to be recognised for its carbon offsetting measures, and to receive so-called carbon financing in return. The first tranche of the money helped the company set up its $1 million biodiesel facility, and another $50,000 award is expected once Bahamas Waste has achieved a certain amount of biodiesel production.

With assistance from Cape Eleuthera Systems, the consulting arm of the Cape Eleuthera Foundation and the Island School in Eleuthera, Bahamas Waste, was recognised by Pioneer Carbon Trading for its efforts to create biodiesel from waste cooking oil that would otherwise have ended up in the public landfill.

The financial support it receives for its carbon offsetting is higher than might be otherwise, as the biodiesel project meets the criteria that enables resulting credits to be sold as 'gold standard'. This is a 'premium quality' and higher value credit attached to those whose carbon offsetting not only produces environmental benefits in terms of carbon reduction, but other economic and social benefits.

Cape Eleuthera's director of facilities, and its consultant to Bahamas Waste on the carbon market and renewables, Geoff Walton, said: "They are creating jobs that weren't there, and because they are using the waste cooking oil that would otherwise go into the landfill, they are creating another benefit in that regard too."

A carbon credit for one ton of 'gold standard' offset carbon can sell on the open market for around $9, whereas other 'regular' carbon credits would fetch a lower $4 or $5 price.

Bahamas Waste entered into a contract with Pioneer Carbon Trading (PCT) in 2007. Essentially a global broker for carbon credits and offsets, PCI transfers funds to Bahamas Waste in return for being able to sell carbon credits in the international voluntary carbon market, based on Bahamas Waste's offsetting.

The concept underpinning the market is that credits are sold to individuals, companies or governments wishing to mitigate their own greenhouse emissions from transportation, electricity use and other sources.

International companies, seeking to enhance their own 'green' credentials, transfer money to other companies that are taking steps to reduce emissions and make the environment cleaner. Individuals may also wish to purchase carbon credits, thereby causing money to be transferred to "environmentally-friendly" projects, if they wish to offset the emissions from personal air travel

Carbon trading is seen as introducing financial incentives and market-based innovation into the fight for carbon-reduction and climate change mitigation.

Mr Walton said: "Since this agreement was signed between Bahamas Waste and Pioneer Carbon Trading, Bahamas Waste cannot sell their CO2 offsets to anyone else, and Pioneer Carbon is obligated to pay $100,000 to Bahamas Waste for the first 20,000 tons of carbon offset, even if the price PCT are selling the credits for on the market ends up going lower than that. They also have first right of refusal on a new agreement after the contract for the first 20,000 tons of offsets expires."

The renewable energy proponent said the Bahamas has "a lot of potential" to benefit from the implementation of other projects which, like Bahamas Waste's biodiesel manufacturing, would address waste and carbon emissions.

"There's a lot of waste here, a lot of CO2 is being produced. The Bahamas not required to meet any of the emissions standards that they have in the US, for example. The open landfill is a huge example of where offsetting could take place. So much methane is being produced there, and methane produces a lot of CO2.

"If someone were to come in and try to find a way to capture the CO2 in the landfill, they could create a new offset, create jobs and get carbon financing. Nobody has caught on to that yet. Anytime CO2 is being produced, there's a way to clean it up and you can get credit for that," said Mr Walton.

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