Acciona’s Red Hills Becomes First Wind Farm in the U.S. to Be Validated on APX VCS Registry

Acciona is the first company to validate and register a wind farm in the USA under the strict requirements of the VCS (Voluntary Carbon Standard), a system that allows the sale of carbon credits to entities or individuals seeking to offset their emissions voluntarily. The operation, which affects the Red Hills windpower plant in Oklahoma, means that the company can complement its income from the sale of energy generated in the wind farm.

The Red Hills wind energy plant has been registered in the VCS Registry of the company APX, giving carbon market operators a system that checks, monitors and markets carbon credits worldwide.

TerraPass, a broker of voluntary carbon credits, has signed a contract with Acciona to purchase a part of the voluntary carbon units (VCU) from the windpark. These are then offered to its customers (individuals or companies) seeking to offset the carbon footprint produced by their activities and thus contributing to the financing of clean technology projects.

Red Hills avoids the emission of 0.67 metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere for each megawatt-hour it produces, according to the methodology of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The validation of the windpark has been a long process in which an independent third party has guaranteed that the project complies with all the requirements of the VCS and the methodology of the UNFCCC.

Red Hills is a wind farm built in Oklahoma, a state with no RPS, and therefore no possibility for generating compliance RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates).

The 123-MW Red Hills windpark is the first wind power project entirely developed and installed by Acciona in the state of Oklahoma, with an investment of 252 million dollars. It entered service in spring 2010 and consists of 82 Acciona Windpower 1.5 MW wind turbines. Red Hills can generate enough clean energy to supply more than 40,000 homes in the area, thereby avoiding the emission of around 294,000 metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere per year.

"Another avenue towards reducing the carbon footprint"

"In the current business climate, creating alternatives for utilizing all the renewable attributes of our projects is key to our success" said Peter Duprey, CEO, Acciona Energy North America. "By leveraging our knowledge of the carbon markets in other countries and having our local team applying it in the US market, we have opened another avenue for business entities to contribute to reducing their carbon footprint. We are very proud to bring the internationally recognized VCS certification to the U.S. renewable energy market and encourage other wind producers to do the same."

"TerraPass customers tell us that they want their money to support renewable energy projects and now we have a great VCS wind project in Acciona’s Red Hills Wind Farm", says TerraPass CEO Erin Craig.

Craig adds that "TerraPass specifically seeks projects to fund where operations have shown good practices and avoided negative impacts. The Acciona Red Hills Wind Farm used numerous environmental surveys to ensure effective conservation strategies were implemented in the construction and operation of the project, making it a good fit for the TerraPass portfolio".

The VCS was developed by The Climate Group, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), among other organizations, to standardize and bring credibility to the voluntary offset market. The VCS has created a reliable and marketable unit, the VCU (voluntary carbon unit).

Acciona already has experience in the validation and sale of carbon credits. Its two windparks in India (total capacity 29.7 MW) have been recognized as emission reduction generators by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the United Nations for compulsory reductions under the Kyoto Protocol, and by the VCS for voluntary offsets. The voluntary carbon units (VCUs) generated by these windparks were acquired by the International Carbon Expo Fair held in Barcelona in May 2010 to offset the emissions generated by the fair itself.

The voluntary offset market is expanding fast, within the framework of the international awareness around the need to tackle climate change. In 2008 (last available data) it traded 705 million dollars, 110% more than the previous year, according to data from Ecosystem Marketplace and New Carbon Finance.