North Antelope Rochelle MineInnovative Emission Reduction Methodology for Open Surface Mines


Huge opportunities for emission reductions exist at coal mines. But before the Bluesource team undertook the challenge of quantifying emission reductions from destroying methane at surface mines, these projects were ineligible to generate offsets, which de-incentivized the emission reductions.

Using the North Antelope Rochelle Mine as the test case, our team sought to create a methodology that could be used by surface mines everywhere to incentivize emission reductions.  Here’s how:

Quantifying methane reductions from these types of mines is vastly different from calculating them for underground mines (for which all prior methodologies had been written). Starting from scratch, the team leaned into our own mining expertise and sought outside expert opinions as well. As the project moved forward, the team sought to understand and evaluate how methane would be released in the absence of a project and how to compare this against how it behaves in the presence of a project activity.

The result was quite successful – a robust and reliable means for measuring these quantities and types of emission reductions. This new methodology takes an innovative, never-done-before approach – using a well-by-well “radius of influence” to show when methane would have been released in the absence of a project activity.

The new methodology was the first to be accepted by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) under its double approval process. Several years later, it was recognized by the State of California in its Cap and Trade program as one of the approved early action methodologies. Our team also applied the new methodology to our case project, generating more than 1,000,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas reductions, first certified under the VCS and later transitioned to the California compliance program.