TransAlta, HEW in first transatlantic emissions trade

TransAlta Corp., Calgary, said it has purchased 24,000 tonnes in carbon dioxide emissions credits from German electric company Hamburgische Electricitats-Werke AG (HEW) in the first reported transatlantic emissions reduction deal.


TransAlta Corp., Calgary, said it has purchased 24,000 tonnes in carbon dioxide emissions credits from Germam electric company Hamburgische Electricitats-Werke AG (HEW) in the first reported transatlantic emissions reduction deal.

In an emissions reduction trade, one company earns "credits" for carbon dioxide emissions that are either not released or are removed from the atmosphere. These credits can then be sold to companies who will record them as a reduction of their total net emissions.

HEW's carbon dioxide emissions reductions are from wind energy facilities in Hamburg.

The multiyear deal is worth $3-5 /tonne, a TransAlta spokesman said, and others in different areas of the world are under investigation. The trade was brokered by New York-based Natsource LLC. The 24,000 tonnes is equal to the annual emissions from about 3,000 cars.

"This deal is part of TransAlta's ongoing commitment to reduce our net greenhouse gas emissions and lead the way in proving that market-based mechanisms such as offsets and emissions-reduction trading really work," said Bob Page, TransAlta's vice-president of sustainable development.

He said the transaction is in keeping with the proposed guidelines of the Kyoto Protocol and will be verified by an independent monitoring organization to ensure that an actual reduction in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide has occurred.

"If Canada, and indeed the US and Europe, are going to be able to meet Kyoto obligations without unduly harming our economies, making use of market mechanisms such as offsets and emissions-reduction trading will be essential," adds Page.

"The trading mechanism ensures that greenhouse gas reduction projects are carried out where they are most cost-effective," said Helmuth-M. Groscurth, head of the project group on environmental certificates at HEW. "At the same time, emissions reduction trading is an interesting new field of business for HEW. It may very well complement HEW's newly developed energy trading activities."

TransAlta has already reduced its net Canadian emissions more than 3 million tonnes below 1990 levels. In March, TransAlta proposing reducing its Canadian net emissions of greenhouse gas to zero by 2024.

An international electric energy company with $6 billion in assets, more than 8,000 Mw of generation, and significant transmission assets in Alberta, TransAlta is concentrating its growth in Canada, the United States, Australia, and Mexico.

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