UN Stops Certifying Wind Projects in China

The United Nations has stopped certifying wind-power projects in China as eligible for overseas investment under a carbon-credit program overseen by the international body, a Chinese official said. The certification was halted because the UN is concerned that low power tariffs set by the state help wind projects qualify, said the official at the National Development and Reform Commission with direct knowledge of the matter. David Abbass, a Bonn-based spokesman for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, wasn't immediately available for comment. The UN program, known as the Clean Development Mechanism, allows companies to invest in emissions-reductions projects that generate carbon credits in developing nations. Polluting companies can buy the credits to meet emissions-reduction targets set in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to fight climate change. "There's suspicions in the UN about whether some projects need carbon credits," said Liam Salter, business development director at carbon consultancy RESET. "Projects have to prove they need to have carbon credits to make them viable, and this is where they run into problems because there are already such favorable policies towards wind power in China." China is unlikely to change its wind-power pricing formula to get the UN certification, said the official, who can't be named because he isn't allowed to speak to the media. The economic planning body is working on an official response to the UN decision, he said. China earns half the UN's CDM creditsThe UN stopped accrediting Chinese wind farms in the middle of the year on concern subsidies were cut to make them eligible for CDM, The Financial Times said today. The mechanism may be a focus at the Copenhagen talks next week as world leaders seek to replace or extend the Kyoto accord. China is the biggest beneficiary of the CDM, earning 153 million carbon credits worth more than $1 billion and making up almost half of the total issued under the CDM program over the past five years, The Financial Times said. China WindPower a Hong Kong-listed renewable energy company, hasn't had any applications to receive carbon credits for its projects refused in recent months, Executive Director Samantha Ko said. "We have noticed the time taken to process applications has slowed down in recent months, but I think that may be to do with the numbers of projects being submitted," she said. China, the world's biggest polluter, burns coal to generate about 80% of the country's electricity. The country wants at least 15% of its energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. The government will invest more than 100 billion yuan ($14.7 billion) to more than double its wind-power capacity by 2010, from last year, Shi Lishan, deputy of renewable energy at the NDRC, said on June 2. China's wind-power capacity will increase more than fivefold in the next decade, Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Administration, said on May 26.

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