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PHILIPPINES: Message of World Bank Country Director Bert Hofman at the Signing of the ROXOL Ethanol Plant Wastewater Treatment and Methane Gas Recovery Project

Signing of the ROXOL Ethanol Plant Wastewater Treatment and Methane Gas Recovery Project

Message by Mr. Bert Hofman
Country Director, World Bank Philippine Country Office

Makati City, January 14, 2009

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good afternoon. I am honored to have signed today the Emission Reductions Purchase Agreement for the Roxol Ethanol Plant Wastewater Treatment and Methane Gas Recovery Project under the World Bank-managed Community Development Carbon Fund Facility. This is the 6th agreement signed by the World Bank in the Philippines since we started supporting the carbon finance operation in the country in 2003 and signed our first agreement in 2004 for the Wind Project in Bangui Bay in Ilocos Norte. As some of you may know, the World Bank is managing a number of carbon fund facilities, which are capitalized by developed countries and private companies to purchase carbon emission reduction credits from developing countries like the Philippines under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol.

 The project will avoid air and water pollution and help mitigate the impacts of climate change, a serious development challenge facing the global community today, caused by the increase in the global greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere. These will be achieved through the adoption of a clean, advance and more efficient technology in treating the ethanol plant’s wastewater - a significant shift from the traditional open lagoon system that has low treatment efficiency and emits significant amount of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas. 

Specifically, the project will avoid the emission of methane from the ethanol plant’s wastewater by collecting it instead of just letting it skip in the atmosphere, as usually done in an open lagoon system, the cheapest method of treating distillery wastewater. The collected methane will be used to power the ethanol plant’s boiler, thus displacing the traditional and more polluting bunker fuel.

We hope that through this project and the additional revenue stream provided by the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol, other industrial firms will be encouraged to adopt cleaner and more efficient treatment system for wastewater.
I am particularly pleased to be signing this agreement because of its contribution to the country’s sustained growth, poverty reduction, environmental improvement and mitigation of the impacts of climate change.

Specifically, the project supports the implementation of the country’s Biofuels Act of 2006, the Clean Water Act of 2004 and the Clean Air Act of 1999. It is also expected to generate employment and help alleviate poverty in the area. I am particularly very pleased that the project will bring benefits to the local communities through the project’s Community Benefits Plan, which will be funded from the premium of US$1/ton of carbon emission reduced by the project. Three poor communities immediately surrounding the project area have been selected to be the beneficiaries of the additional resources earmarked for the Community Benefits Plan.

 I strongly commend the efforts by the Project Sponsor, the Roxol Bioenergy Corporation, as well as the strong support from the Philippine authorities. I also would like to acknowledge the important contribution of our fund participant, the Community Development Carbon Fund.
 On behalf of the World Bank, and especially those who have worked on this project, I wish the Roxol Bioenergy Corporation all the success in implementing the project. The emission reduction purchase agreement that we are signing today forms part of the growing number of CDM projects in the country, which now totals to 19 registered projects, ranking the Philippines 7th globally in terms of the number of registered projects, though still ranking lower in terms of the volume of emission credits compared to Malaysia and Indonesia. The Bank is proud to be your partner in this endeavor, and we look forward to our continued collaboration.

In closing, allow me to say that we are keen on expanding our engagement with the Philippines in the areas of waste management and alternative energy development in support to the newly approved Renewable Energy Act of 2008 signed into law by the President only last month. We can mobilize the remaining carbon fund facilities for projects that would go in operation before the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, or tap other new facilities such as the Carbon Partnership Facility and the Clean Technology Fund.

 Thank you very much.

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