An innovative way of financing and supporting emission reduction projects in Africa

Harmke Immink

Harmke Immink

Chemical Engineer at Promethium Carbon (Pty) Ltd
Harmke Immink is a Chemical Engineer with a Masters degree in Environmental Measurement Techniques. She is a Director is Promethium Carbon (Pty) Ltd and enjoys cycling her e-bike with her daughter.
Harmke Immink

Addressing both the development needs and the mitigation trajectory required to deal with climate change is a challenge.  Carbon credits can be generated through a number of standards of which the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) are the two leading programmes.

Registration of projects under these programmes is, however, a lengthy and costly process to ensure environmental integrity of the carbon credits.  Inefficiencies are often due to the project-by-project approach to registration.  This approach makes it very difficult to achieve economies of scale.  One way of overcoming this barrier, is to group projects together in Programmes of Activities (PoAs). The key advantages of PoAs include reduced costs, time to market, and certification effort.  The potential for expansion of the programme over time is also a major advantage.  Under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change a PoA can generate carbon credits for 28 years.

The Carbon Protocol of South Africa has developed a structure that overcomes the risks and potential sources of conflict associated with the management of other grouped projects or PoAs. The not-for-profit legal status of the Carbon Protocol allows for central coordination but allows the management of each PoA to act in the best interests of the underlying projects. This structure balances UNFCCC requirements with commercial realities and has been developed with the assistance of South Africa’s leading carbon law firm in 2012. Currently, the Carbon Protocol platform houses four registered PoAs, namely:

  • Grid Connected Photovoltaic (PV) Renewable Electricity Generating Facilities PoA (PoA 8630)
  • Solar Energy Programme for South Africa (PoA 8535)
  • South African Wind Power Projects PoA (PoA 8742)
  • Cogeneration and-or trigeneration at commercial sites (PoA 9347)

The platform is independent and other PoAs with other carbon consultants are welcome to make use of this existing infrastructure.

With the downward trend in the international carbon price a number of PoAs are at risk of being shelved or cancelled.  Moving to this platform might be a way to safeguard the interest of these projects – please contact the Carbon Protocol for more detail:

In South Africa the proposed carbon tax and offset scheme has the potential to create demand for South African projects.  It is expected that especially the solar PV and the trigeneration PoA will become active with projects joining these established and registered PoAs