Washington utility district hydro joins Chicago Climate Exchange

The Chicago Climate Exchange has approved a portion of the electricity generated at Washington’s 1,236.6-MW Rocky Reach hydropower project to be traded to offset greenhouse gas emissions from other sources.

About 1.75 million additional megawatt-hours generated at the Rocky Reach project (No. 2145) from operational and equipment efficiency improvements made since 2003 are eligible to be traded as carbon offset credits. (HNN 12/10/07) Project operator Chelan County Public Utility District estimates the credits could be worth $1.5 million to $3 million at recent prices.

Chelan County PUD commissioners approved a measure Dec. 17 for the district to join the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) as a member and to register the offsets with CCX.

The exchange is the world’s first, and North America’s only, legally binding rules-based greenhouse gas reduction and trading system, the district said. Exchange members commit to reduce their direct CO2 emissions by 6 percent by 2010 by making internal reductions or by purchasing excess reductions made by other members or offset projects.

�This is unique,� PUD General Manager Rich Riazzi said. �It affirms hydropower as emissions-free and renewable and supports the country’s economic, energy-independence, and clean-air goals. We hope this makes it easier for other clean hydropower producers to participate as well.�

Emissions displacement from incremental megawatts generated since 2003 now are available for purchase as �offsets� by other CCX members. Chelan County PUD is to decide whether to market its offsets, which qualify to replace the equivalent of about 700,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Chelan County PUD said it will use any net funds it receives through the exchange market to support and enhance the district’s environmental, conservation, and system efficiency improvement programs.

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