ADB Delivers on Sustainability with Carbon-Neutral Annual Meeting

Khandke wind power project in India.
Khandke wind power project in India.

By Woochong Um

This year’s ADB Annual Meeting was the first to be carbon-neutral – with help from a wind farm in western India.

This year’s Annual Meeting of ADB’s Board of Governors was the first to be carbon-neutral – with help from a wind farm in western India.

Ensuring that the Annual Meeting held in Frankfurt, Germany, was carbon-neutral is a tangible demonstration that actions to address climate change can be taken at every level, from business through to individuals. 

Consistent with the meeting’s theme, ‘Cooperating for Sustainability’, the primary effort was to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by securing all the required electricity from renewable energy sources, as well as carpooling and using Frankfurt’s efficient public transport systems whenever possible. Obviously some GHG emissions could not be avoided, particularly as more than 3,500 delegates flew in from various parts of the world.

To offset these unavoidable GHG emissions, ADB purchased 8,000 Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) from a Clean Development Mechanism project under Kyoto protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). To supplement, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development purchased an additional volume of 1,496 CERs. All these CERs were generated by a 50.4-megawatt (MW) wind power project developed by The Tata Power Company Limited near Khandke village in the Maharashtra state of India, one of the country’s clean energy success stories.  

The team managing ADB’s Carbon Market Program first assessed the GHG emissions resulting from the Annual Meeting. Then it identified the Khandke wind power project as a candidate for emissions reductions, conducted the requisite due diligence, commercial and legal negotiations for the purchase of the CERs, and finally facilitated the cancellation of CERs by the UNFCCC Secretariat.

Fully commissioned in December 2007, the Khandke wind power project exports electricity to the North East West North Eastern grid, one of two regional grids in India. The project includes 63 E-48 wind energy generators with a rated capacity of 800 kilowatts each. It operates at a plant load factor of around 24%, and exports approximately 105 gigawatt hours of clean electricity annually.

The wind turbines displace electricity that would otherwise be generated through conventional fossil fuel-based power plants. This helps curb GHG emissions, reducing India’s dependence on domestic and imported fossil fuels and contributing to energy security in a perennially power-starved country.

ADB has provided multi-level support to the Khandke wind power project, which was partially funded by ADB through a corporate loan of Rs1,192 million (about $17.6 million). It also received carbon financing from the Asia Pacific Carbon Fund and Future Carbon Fund, in addition to technical assistance in securing CDM registration and CER issuances from the UNFCCC through the Technical Support Facility – all under ADB’s Carbon Market Program.

The project continues to benefit from ADB’s $115 million Future Carbon Fund, which is boosting ADB’s developing member countries’ access to much-needed carbon finance to overcome barriers facing low-carbon projects. The Fund supports a portfolio of 1,100 MW renewable energy projects across Asia and the Pacific through pre-purchase of CERs.

ADB leads by example on its home turf too. Our Manila headquarters has an on-site solar generation facility, with additional power requirements sourced via geothermal energy. It also implements environmentally friendly business practices such as the use of recycled paper across offices, waste management, recycling, video conferencing rather than travel, rainwater harvesting and waste water treatment, among others.

I am happy ADB walked the talk to roll out a carbon-neutral Annual Meeting in 2016, the second in a row to be independently certified as a sustainable event. This is something we intend to continue in years to come.