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Native Energy gathers sponsors to reduce emissions

Mar. 27, 2012 - Carbon offset developer Native Energy has launched a partnership with corporate sponsors to develop projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Iowa.

A group of 25 companies has joined Native Energy to fund a project in Wewoka, Oklahoma, that captures landfill gas for industrial heating and a project in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, that reduces fugitive methane emissions by improving the handling of agricultural waste.

The Wewoka landfill project will capture biomethane and transport it to kilns owned by a local brick manufacturing firm where it will be burned instead of natural gas. The project, developed under a protocol from the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), is expected to offset 25,000-30,000 metric tonnes/yr of CO2 equivalent (CO2e).

Tom Rawls, Native Energy's vice president of sales and marketing, said the VCS protocol awards offsets for both the destruction of methane and the displacement of natural gas, while other carbon registries award offsets only for methane destruction. “VCS allows us to give the full carbon value to the project,” Rawls said.

The Northeast Farm Separation Project was also developed using a VCS protocol aimed at reducing methane emissions by sorting manure from other agricultural byproducts. The project is expected to reduce 5,016mt of CO2e by the end of 2012 and 72,390mt over its 10-year crediting period, according to the project's verification documents.

Native Energy's partnership also funded the construction of two 1.6MW wind turbines on family farms in northern Iowa. Native estimates the turbines will generate enough power for 5,200 average-sized homes and offset CO2 emissions by 9,000mt/yr during the first ten years of operation.

All of the projects were developed under Native's Help Build program, which allows project owners to receive an upfront payment equal to the amount of offsets the project will produce over its lifetime. Native uses a buffer pool from a portfolio of other projects to make up any shortfall in a particular project's performance.

The project sponsors have a “direct causal relationship” with projects that benefit the local community Rawls said. “Carbon [revenue] is crucial, but it is carbon with benefits.”