The eThekwini Municipality has registered its second Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project with the United Nations. The CDM was registered as a “Programme of Activities” or PoA which allows projects to be “bundled” together instead of accrediting small individual projects. The PoA registered by the eThekwini Municipality is specific for new installations of solar water heaters and heat pumps at residential facilities throughout South Africa. In 2006 eThekwini Municipality registered the first Landfill Gas to Electricity CDM project in Africa.
The aim of this current PoA is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the roll out of energy efficient water heating technologies which displace the consumption of fossil fuels or electricity. Once the CDM or carbon credit has been verified, it can be sold on international or local markets to help co-fund the project. The programme has been designed so that income generated from the PoA will be used to encourage the update of solar water heaters and heat pumps and assist with maintenance in low income areas.
The Municipality’s Energy Office initiated the CDM- PoA registration in 2011, and focused specifically on solar water heaters in low cost housing within the eThekwini Municipal area. The project evolved significantly over time and now covers a range of technologies and income groups and can be applied anywhere in South Africa. The PoA was finalised on the 23rd of July 2013 and is valid until June 2040. Solar Water Heater Installations done prior to the registration date will not be recognized as part of this PoA.
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was designed as part of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. The future of the CDM was a key discussion point during the COP17-CMP7 conference in Durban. One of the outcomes of these discussions was that registrations for any new CDMs from developing nations needed to be submitted to the UNFCCC by the end of 2012. The eThekwini PoA was submitted in time and has now been officially registered in July.
Derek Morgan, the Senior Manager at the Energy Office noted that the future of the CDM is uncertain pending some key decisions in international climate change negotiations and as a result the price of carbon (CDM) is very low. However he also noted that the proposed National Carbon Tax makes provision for entities to offset using mechanisms such as the CDM. “We anticipate that this POA will become fully operational as the carbon tax is rolled out and the demand for carbon offsets at this time will be much stronger.”
“We will then be able to use the carbon credits to co-fund the projects we are running to encourage the uptake of solar water heaters and heat pumps in the city” he added.