The 123 MW Red Hills wind energy facility in Oklahoma has 82 ACCIONA wind turbines of 1.5 MW capacity each.
It is the first wind energy project developed and installed by ACCIONA in the state of Oklahoma, which has no renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and no ability to comply for renewable energy certificates (REC). The investment for the wind facility was US$252 million.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) allows wind farms to claim avoidance of 0.67 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere for each megawatt-hour of generation. The validation of Red Hills was a long process in which an independent third party guaranteed that the project complies with all the requirements of the VCS and the methodology of the UNFCCC.
The wind farm has been registered in the VCS Registry of the company APX. A broker of voluntary carbon credits, TerraPass, has contracted with ACCIONA to purchase part of the voluntary carbon units (VCU) from the wind farm, which will be offered to its customers that want to offset the carbon footprint from their own activities.
The system means that Red Hills can complement its income from the sale of energy generated by the wind turbines, with the sale of avoided CO2 emissions.
CO2 trading - a new avenue of business
“In the current business climate, creating alternatives for utilising all the renewable attributes of our projects is key to our success,” says Peter Duprey of 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.”
ACCIONA has two wind farms in India with total capacity 30 MW, which have been recognised 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 generated by these wind facilities were acquired by the International Carbon Expo Fair held in Barcelona, to offset the emissions generated by the fair itself.
The VCS was developed by The Climate Group, International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), among other groups, to standardise and bring credibility to the voluntary carbon offset market. It created the VCU (voluntary carbon unit) as a marketable unit.
The voluntary carbon offset market is expanding quickly within the framework of international efforts to address climate change. In 2008, US$705m of voluntary credits were traded, 110% more than 2007, according to Ecosystem Marketplace and New Carbon Finance.
ACCIONA Energy has a presence in seven clean technologies, with 7573 MW of wind capacity in 14 countries, and it manufactures wind turbines using proprietary technology. It has two concentrating solar power (CSP) plants, large solar photovoltaic (PV) plants, 79 hydropower stations, three biomass plants, two biodiesel plants and one bioethanol plant.