Potential for wind in emissions credit trade

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There are "big issues to figure out and work through" in the implementation of Canada's proposed new federal air emissions regulations, says the Canadian Wind Energy Association's Robert Hornung, including the role zero emissions technologies like wind will play in meeting the targets. The government plans to require industrial emitters to curb their emissions per unit of output, or so-called emissions intensity, 18% by 2010 and another 2% a year thereafter. Ultimately the goal is to reduce absolute emissions by 20% from current levels by 2020. The plan, titled a Regulatory Framework for Air Emission, includes a number of options emitters can use to comply with the targets, including trading offset credits created by non-regulated activities. That is where the greatest potential for wind generation lies, says Hornung. The wind industry had to fight for the right to create and trade offset credits under the previous Liberal government, which was concerned that reductions would be counted twice, once by the fossil fuel generator whose output was reduced and again by the wind power producer. "We made significant progress in terms of reaching an agreement on what the methodology would be for that," says Hornung. "But we are starting all over again, so I don't think there are any guarantees. I think we will have to go in and actively advocate for it. And there are two questions. One is, can the wind industry create an offset at all, and the other is how do you quantify it?" Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn says the government will be looking at those issues in the design of the program. "It may allow people in the wind industry to attract investments from people who are looking for offsets. I think the horizon looks very, very optimistic for the wind industry in Canada."

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