Preliminary assessment of potential CDM early start projects in
The Brazil/U.S. Aspen Global Forum on Climate Change Policies and Programs has facilitated a dialogue between key Brazil and U.S. public and private sector leaders on the subject of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). With support from the U.S. government, a cooperative effort between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Sao Paulo conducted an assessment of a number of projects put forth by Brazilian sponsors. Initially, we gathered information and conducted a screening assessment for ten projects in the energy sector and six projects in the forestry sector. Some of the projects appeared to offer greater potential to be attractive for CDM, or had better information available. We then conducted a more detailed assessment of 12 of these projects, and two other projects that were submitted after the initial screening. An important goal was to assess the potential impact of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) on the financial performance of projects. With the exception of the two forestry-based fuel displacement projects, the impact of CERs on the internal rate of return (IRR) is fairly small. This is true for both the projects that displace grid electricity and those that displace local (diesel-based) electricity production. The relative effect of CERs is greater for projects whose IRR without CERs is low. CERs have a substantial effect on the IRR of the two short-rotation forestry energy substitution projects. One reason is that the biofuel displaces coke and oil, both of which are carbon-intensive. Another factor is that the product of these projects (charcoal and woodfuel, respectively) is relatively low value, so the revenue from carbon credits has a strong relative impact. CERs also have a substantial effect on the NPV of the carbon sequestration projects. Financial and other barriers pose a challenge for implementation of most of the projects. In most cases, the sponsor lacks sufficient capital, and loans are available only at high interest rate and with substantial guarantee. A few of the projects might go ahead without the benefit of CERs, but most probably would not. Whether the projected revenue from CERs would be sufficient to induce sponsors to proceed with the projects is an important issue that requires further investigation. All of the projects contribute to economic development in Brazil. The forestry projects in particular would create a significant number of rural jobs, and contribute income to rural communities. Some of the carbon sequestration projects would provide environmental benefits with respect to protection of biodiversity and soil.