Ruby Canyon Engineering helps verify greenhouse-gas reduction projects

Ruby Canyon Engineering head Michael Cote is preparing for a cap-and-trade world in his Horizon Court office. Behind him are maps of mining in Montana and Utah.

Grand Junction-based Ruby Canyon Engineering, founded five years ago with two employees, now maintains offices on two continents and counts among its clients some of the largest companies in the world.

Ruby Canyon Engineering helps those companies prepare for climate-change legislation by helping them accomplish and verify greenhouse-gas-reduction projects.

Ruby Canyon Engineering President Michael Cot&233; and partner Ron Collings in Denver founded Ruby Canyon Engineering as the Kyoto Protocol became effective in 2005. They have since picked up on a series of related ventures, including third-party verification of the effectiveness of greenhouse-gas-reduction efforts.

Ruby Canyon Engineering,, now is one of 18 companies that perform third-party verification and is the 12th to be recognized by the American National Standards Institute for its expertise, Cot&233; said. It’s now recognized in Mexico, as well as the United States, for its expertise in methane verifications at landfills.

As a qualified third-party validation and verification body, Ruby Canyon Engineering offers security and transparency to companies that require accurate assessments of greenhouse-gas credits or offsets.

Cot&233;, an engineer by training and the holder of a separate environmental-management degree from Mesa State College, recognized the opportunity to work on greenhouse-gas reduction projects as the Kyoto Protocols became effective.

Since its founding, Ruby Canyon’s list of clients has grown to include some the world’s largest companies, many of which are in the energy business, such as: the U.S. natural gas company El Paso Corp.; British- and Australian-owned Rio Tinto Group; the Russian natural gas giant Gazprom; the Spanish energy company Repsol; and the world’s largest private-sector coal company, Peabody Energy.

Ruby Canyon Engineering also has worked with Williams Cos. and EnCana, the two largest natural gas producers in Colorado, on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s GasStar Program, which encourages natural gas companies to employ technologies and practices that improve operational efficiency and reduce methane emissions.

Cot&233; worked at Rust Geotech and on methane issues at western Colorado coal mines before establishing Ruby Canyon Engineering.

Although there is no compliance market for greenhouse-gas credits, the California Climate Action Reserve, a voluntary registry for greenhouse-gas reporting standards, can only grow if the United States enters into a cap-and-trade system, Cot&233; said.

Ruby Canyon Engineering has been active in negotiations on greenhouse-gas-credit trading and other issues in the carbon market.

“I guess we’re positioned for the big move, should it ever come,” Cot&233;  said.

Through its China office, Ruby Canyon Engineering works closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on a variety of projects aimed at finding projects there.

Lu Tao, the company’s vice president for China operations, was brought on about two years ago to identify carbon projects in China and help the company understand the Chinese business culture, Cot&233; said.

With eight employees now, Cot&233; said he can envision the company at 743 Horizon Court growing to as many as 20 people, but not much more than that.

To get too large, he said, would put him too far away from the day-to-day business of the projects the company works to complete.

Projects that Ruby Canyon Engineering works on must “have an economic value to some degree,” Cot&233; said, “and the carbon credits put them over the top.”


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