Critique of the WCD Compliance Report for Xiaoxi Large Hydro Dam, China

Ann-Kathrin Schneider
Sunday, June 1, 2008

The following assessment by International Rivers compares the compliance report for the 135 MW Xiaoxi Dam to the Strategic Priorities of the World Commission on Dams, and the requirements of the German Emissions Trading Authority. The report is of very low quality and does not provide a basis for the German government to accept the project as WCD compatible.


German-based power utility RWE is one of the biggest CO2 emitters in Europe, with emissions of more than 120 million tonnes of CO2 per year, mainly from coal plants. In place of reducing its emissions, RWE intends to buy CDM offsets supposedly representing average reductions of 442,720 tonnes of CO2 per year from the Xiaoxi hydropower project. This large dam on the Zishui River in China’s Hunan Province has an installed capacity of 135 megawatts.

EU and German law require hydropower projects above 20MW that want to sell carbon credits in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to comply with the WCD recommendations. RWE has commissioned TÜV SÜD, a certification company with accreditation from the CDM, to write a WCD compliance report for the Xiaoxi project.

The TÜV SÜD compliance report fails to credibly evaluate the project against the WCD recommendations and does not fulfil the criteria of the German Emissions Trading Authority (DEHSt) "Guideline for Determination of Compliance with the Recommendations of the WCD." Based on this report, the German government should not have accepted the project as WCD compatible.

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