Round table aimed at discussion of the status of Nubarashen Landfill Gas Capture and Power Generation CDM Project as well as introduction of problems encountered by the project participants was held in Yerevan Aarhus Center on June 24, 2008. The event hosted more than 25 representatives from various public and environmental NGO's, Ministry of Nature Protection of RA, Municipality of Yerevan, OSCE and UNDP Armenian offices as well as Japanese Shimizu Corporation, the key company implementing the Nubarashen project.
After welcome speech delivered by the chair of the session, a presentation on the project background and fundamentals, its environmental and social benefit as well as financial and technical aspects was made by Mr. Akihiko Hirayama, Senior Manager of GHG Project Department, Shimizu Corporation.
During the presentation Mr. Hirayama informed the audience on the current status of the project. In particular, he mentioned that the Nubarashen Project Design Document was approved by the Government of Japan as well as by a number of the Armenian key-stakeholders, namely, Ministry of Nature Protection (MoNP), Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Trade and Economic Development and Public Services Regulatory Commission in 2005.
Having obtained the positive feedback of the local key stakeholders the Japanese Consortium (Shimizu Corporation and Hokkaido Electric and Power Ltd.) has already spent about 1 mln USD on the further development of the project, organization of a field survey, organization of site visits and development of technical documentation including the Project Agreement. The latter document sets conditions of the project materialization as well as establishes mutual obligations of the parties under the project.
Mr. Hirayama also stressed that the project aimed to install 1.4 MW electricity generator with gas engine to be operated on biogas captured from the landfill. Generated electricity will be sold to the national electricity grid, whereas, annual income form the electricity sale, which amounts to about 1.2 mln USD, will be equally distributed between the Armenian and Japanese parties. Thus, cumulative profit of the Municipality within the project lifetime (16 years) will amount to 4.4 mln USD.
The Project Agreement was already agreed with the Municipality of Yerevan (local project participant) in May 2008. However, signing of the document and subsequent launch of the construction works was postponed due to negative comments made on the Agreement by the Ministry of Economy of RA (former Ministry of Trade and Economic Development). The main concern of Ministry of Economy (MoE) was related to the provision of the Agreement according to which the Municipality of Yerevan shall use the best endeavors to continue to dump all the organic waste collected from Municipality to the Nubarashen landfill site during the whole project period. According to MoE, the mentioned clause provides the Japanese Consortium with exclusive right to operate the landfill within the project life time, thus, limiting the possibility of Municipality to invite the second operator. With that regard MoE proposed that the waste damping period be revised and not limited/guaranteed within the proposed life time.
In order to facilitate the decision making process the Shimizu Corporation was requested to conduct feasibility analysis of the project under various organic waste dumping periods (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020) and gas engine generator capacities (0.6 - 1.4 MW). Based on the results obtained Shimizu Corporation managed to demonstrate that the project needs all the organic materials to be dumped in the Nubarashen landfill at least until the year of 2016 in order to operate 1.4 MW electricity generator as well as to ensure the project economic feasibility.
In the final part of his speech Mr. Hirayama informed the participants that Shimizu Corporation would submit the results of the above-mentioned assessment to the MoE in order to clarify the ministry's final position on the project Agreement and continuation of the project.
After the presentation floor went to Mr. Aram Gabrielyan, Head of Environmental Protection Department of MoNP and Mr. Vardges Yeghiazaryan, Deputy Head of Communal Department of the Yerevan Municipality. Both speakers supported the project underlying its obvious environmental, social and economic benefits. It was also stressed that the proposed project completely meets all the national environmental requirements. As a concluding remark, Mr. Kurita, General Manager of GHG Project Department, Shimizu Corporation made a statement that the decision should be made now to start Nubarashen Landfill CDM Project to maximize its benefit for both Armenian and Japanese parties.
Based on the presented information and positive reaction of the audience it was decided to organize a follow-up round-table meeting on the project with a wider participation of NGOs. The meeting will be organized once MoE provides its feedback on the results of feasibility study conducted by the Japanese Consortium and proposes its opinion on the project Agreement.
All the participants stated that in case of a negative feedback hampering the project materialization the issue should be brought to the attention of the Prime Minister and supported by the public sector.
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