Alberta Protocol Development Process
***Please note that Alberta Environment and Water and C3 are working on revising the Alberta protocol development process to meet evolving system criteria and resources. Revisions to the Protocol Development Guidance Document are forthcoming. Potential Protocol Developers wanting more information should contact C3 to discuss the process.***
The first series of Quantification Protocols in Alberta were initially developed from previous protocol work coordinated by federal-provincial and territorial governments from 2003 to 2006. Under that process, a significant amount of collaborative scientific and technical coordination and consensus had been developed and available in the form of draft Technical Seed Documents (TSDs) – which provided a solid technical and consensus-based set of documents from which Alberta could proceed with developing a series of protocols.
As part of the Alberta Government commitment to an adaptive management approach to the Greenhouse Gas Regulatory Framework, the Alberta Protocol Development Process was modified in late Fall 2007 to encourage industry and other interested stakeholders to share in development costs, by bringing forward new protocols for the Alberta Offset System. Stakeholders in Alberta have shown tremendous support for this approach, and the response in new protocol development has been substantial.
The development of a quantification protocol for consideration in the Alberta Offset System proceeds in several steps and involves four (4) separate formal periods of review; technical, broad stakeholder, internal government, and a public posting review.
**Please note that the evolution of Alberta’s protocol development process has led to some modifications. Alberta Environment released a comprehensive guidance document that any potential Protocol Developers must consult. The Technical Guidance for Offset Protocol Developers (Version 1.0 January 2011) is available at: Environment Alberta and Carbon Offsets Approved Alberta Protocols.
Below is a brief description of the main steps in the Alberta Protocol Development process. Please consult the Protocol Guidance Document for full guidance and criteria.
Step 1 – Check the Carbon Offset Solutions Website
The first step in the protocol development process is to identify a greenhouse gas emission reduction opportunity for one or more of the covered emissions. The reduction opportunity must result in quantifiable emission reductions in Alberta, meet all eligibility criteria, and must meet additionality criteria.
If the activity meets all criteria the protocol sponsor should review the list of approved protocols and protocols under development available on this website.
Step 2 – Prepare and Submit the Intent to Develop an Alberta Protocol
The intent to develop an Alberta offset system quantification protocol is a screening tool used by Alberta Environment to assess the eligibility of a reduction opportunity within the Alberta offset system. This document must be sufficiently complete and detailed to provide Alberta Environment with an overview of the proposed activity, assumptions, and emissions generation potential. It must provide a rational for why the protocol is needed, how it will result in emission reductions in Alberta, and how it meets additionality criteria, including being supplemental to regulations and business as usual activities. A copy of the form is within Appendix A of the Technical Guide for Protocol Developers. You may also submit a request for this document to email@example.com. NOTE: All protocol concepts must be approved by Alberta Environment. Protocols not obtaining approval will not be accepted during Call for Protocols.
Step 3 - Develop Technical Seed Document (TSD)
The TSDs make up the scientific basis (foundation) of the project activity, eligibility, verifiability, and GHG quantification approach for approved project type; it represents the best available science relating to the project activity.
Further detail on the development of the TSD is within the Technical Guide for Protocol Developers.
Step 4 – Adapt the TSD into the Alberta Standardized Protocol format
The Alberta Protocol Format includes information from the TSD generally condensed to shorter documents containing the following:
• Section 1 - Protocol Methodology Scope and Description
o Application; Eligibility; Flexibility, Description of Functional Equivalence; Glossary
• Section 2 - Quantification of Identified Sources and Sinks
o Identification of Sources and Sinks (SSs) for the project and baseline conditions
o Baseline Life Cycle Diagrams (identified baseline assumed)
o Project Life Cycle Diagrams
o Formulae, coefficients, emission factors and explanation of equation components
o Data Management and Monitoring information
• Appendix - Additional Glossary of Terms, reference tables, and extra information for project developers, if necessary
• Appendix of Sample Calculation
A template for the technical seed document and quantification protocol format is available in Appendix C and D of the Technical Guide for Protocol Developers.
Step 5 – Expert Technical Review
C3 facilitates the technical review sessions for each protocol. Protocol Developers must contact C3 within sufficient timeframes for discussion of conducting the review (including required follow-up time for incorporating comments into draft protocol). Based on the feedback from the first round, revised versions are circulated for comment and feedback, with a final close date to gather comments.
Step 6 – Submission of Draft Protocol - “Call for Protocols”
The Alberta Offset System holds an annual Call for Protocol submission (generally in the Fall of each year), where protocol developers must have a technically reviewed draft protocol ready for submission to Alberta Environment and C3 for review. The finalized draft protocols are reviewed by Alberta Environment and C3 which then proceed onto the broader stakeholder review.
Step 7 – Broader Stakeholder Review
C3, on behalf of Alberta Environment, coordinates a structured consultation process bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders involved in the carbon value chain to review the draft protocols. Each protocol is presented outlining its development complete with technical considerations through the development and technical review.
Step 8 – Internal Government Review
Once protocol developers have revised protocols and addressed all questions raised during the stakeholder review workshop, the draft protocol is resubmitted to proceed to an internal government review. Alberta Environment will initiate a formal government review of the protocol with appropriate government departments.
Step 9 – Public Posting of Revised Protocols for Review
A final draft protocol will be developed following the government review. This draft will then be posted for a 30-day public comment period consistent with the Government of Alberta expectations for transparency and public engagement.
Submitted comments will be compiled together with the draft protocol presented to Alberta Environment for final considerations. Protocols may be sent back to developers to address any/all comments submitted.
o C3, on behalf of Alberta Environment, posts the draft Protocol and documentation on www.carbonoffsetsolutions.ca for 30 days in a public review and commenting period.
Step 9a – Dispute Resolution
o In the even that significant issues are raised, or that there are unresolved issues associated with the proposed protocol, Alberta Environment will work with the Project Developer and review team to take appropriate action to address issues and reach consensus. The protocol must achieve no sustained objection to be presented for final approval.
Step 10 – Government Approval and Release of Protocol
Protocols that have no sustained objection and meet the requirements of the Alberta offset system will be presented to the Director for final review and approval. Protocols approved before November 1 will be available for the use in the current compliance cycle, which ends March 31 of the following year. Protocols approved after November 1 will be available for use in the following compliance cycle.