Leading Australian environmental trading company, Greenbank Environmental, has announced it is expanding its operations to include carbon farming and clean energy project development, with the establishment of a Carbon Projects Division.
The new division – Greenbank Carbon – which will be based in Sydney and headed up Dermot Duncan, former Special Counsel at Crisp Legal and current Secretary of the newly formed REC Agents Association, will provide “a one-stop-shop” for the creation and trading of carbon credits, development of carbon farming initiatives and development of clean energy and energy efficiency projects.
Greenbank CEO, Fiona O’Hehir, said the expansion would position the company to take full advantage of Australia’s shift to a lower carbon economy. “My aim is to establish Greenbank as one of Australia’s largest facilitators of low carbon projects, encouraging projects through design, build, financing and trading of environmental certificates,” O’Hehir said in a news release on Monday.
As for the size of the clean energy and carbon offset market, O’Hehir describes that as “5 per cent of a piece of string…What is the value of the carbon tax? Five per cent of that can be offset with ACCUs under the CFI. Estimates expect the value to be $500 million over 10 years.”
O’Hehir also stressed the huge potential for Australia’s agriculture sector, telling RenewEconomy that the introduction of the Carbon Farming Initiative had ushered in a new era.
“How many new opportunities come to the farming sector? Carbon Farming is a fantastic chance to create a second income stream which will bring greater prosperity to an industry that does it tough. And will do it tougher with the effects of climate change,” she said.
“Greenbank intends to engage and educate the farming sector about some of the opportunities that are going to open up to them. Yes it will take time, but Greenbank has always been here for the long haul. We are excited at new projects that are going to emerge because we have finally put a price on pollution. Greenbank has always been an educator and market leader, the Carbon Farming Iniative is just an extension of what we already do.”
In an email to RenewEconomy, O’Hehir also reiterated the importance of the federal government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET), which is currently under review, and which she has previously described as “gold medal-winning” policy for driving clean energy innovation and project development in Australia.
“The RET is a success; more than four million Australians now have solar power and solar water heating. It reduces their energy bills and cuts some of Australia’s carbon pollution, but is also engages the community in the discussion about energy in general and energy efficiency in particular. The RET has driven down the wholesale cost of energy for all Australians and has displaced the output of a single power station,” O’Hehir said.
“The RET is a complementary measure which is designed to run in parallel with the Carbon Price. It has strong bipartisan support because it works. I believe it should be expanded as it drives innovation and deployment of renewable energy capacity as we quickly move to a low carbon economy.”