Micro-Generation Protocol

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This Week
  • Carbon offset payments are a possibility at some point for small scale solar and wind power production
  • At the moment, while there is interest, companies are not collecting and buying them
  • The potential return is just under a cent per kWh at current carbon prices, may increase in the future

Alberta has a micro-generation regulation in place that is meant to encourage small solar or wind power generation that feeds back into the electrical grid. Starting in 2009, grid tied micro-generation now has over a thousand installations in place. With a carbon offset protocol approved in 2013, http://aep.alberta.ca/climate-change/guidelines-legislation/specified-gas-emitters-regulation/documents/ProtocolRenewableEnergy-Mar2013.pdf, this activity has the possibility of generating additional income through carbon offsets.

Carbon Amounts from Micro-generation
The carbon yield is set at just under a kilogram (0.64) per kilowatt hour for 2017.

So an install that produces 12,000 kWh/year would give 0.64 X 12,000 = 7680 kg = 7.68 tonnes.

The current net price of carbon to the farmer under the Conservation Cropping protocol (minus aggregation fees) is $13.00 to 15.00/tonne. Assuming $13.00/tonne this would equal $99.84 for carbon, or 0.8 cents/kWh.

At a likely price to the farmer in the coming years:
@ $20.00/tonne = 153.60, 1.3 cents/kWh.

Basic Qualifications and Record Keeping
In order to qualify for these carbon offsets, installations have to be less than one megawatt, the ownership of the carbon has to be agreed upon, and renewable energy credits (REC’s) cannot also be sold. Power production records are needed and may be well suited to the offset system as they are produced by almost all solar systems, usually kept either by the installation company or the distribution company. Meter accuracy may be an issue, as the protocol specifies sealed meters and data loggers with 95% accuracy.

The Market
An informal survey of electrical retailers and generators in April 2014 found some interest in carbon credits from micro-generation, but companies did not appear to be aggregating and purchasing them at that time. Reasons cited in the survey include the small amount of supply, present low carbon prices, and uncertainties around certification requirements.

Related Green Income
The main source of income from micro-generation is the power generated, which is credited on the bill usually at the same price as the power from the retailer, minus the delivery charges. This nets currently about 5 to 6 cents per kWh. At present there is no federal/provincial/municipal subsidy (feed-in tariff) for micro-generation in Alberta.

The Growing Forward 2 program cost-shares the price of a solar system, at 56 to 75 cents per W, up to various cost shares.

The tax write off on solar equipment is accelerated, up to 50% Capital Cost Allowance per year.

Paul Jungnitsch, Carbon Offset Agrologist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, last updated Nov 2017.

For more information contact the Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276) or Paul Jungnitsch at 780-427-3801

The information contained here is the interpretation of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Alberta’s carbon offset system is managed by Alberta Environment and Parks. Offset projects must comply with the most recent quantification protocols and program requirements published by Environment and Parks here.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Paul Jungnitsch.
This document is maintained by Laura Thygesen.
This information published to the web on May 30, 2014.
Last Reviewed/Revised on November 17, 2017.