First Gold Standard-certified Carbon Project registered in Argentina
Empresa Federal de Energía S.A. (EFESA), CFB Energy and Ecosecurities worked together for the development of Parque de los Llanos, the first Gold Standard solar photovoltaic project in South America. This new project contributes to meet the electricity demand of the country by generating power using a unique zero emissions photovoltaic technology
Geneva / Buenos Aires, 18 November 2020 – Argentina is the third largest power market in Latin America, preceded by Brazil and Mexico, and, in the last four years, it became an example to follow regarding renewable energy supply. In 2015, Argentina’s government introduced a new renewable energy law (Law No. 27,191) which provides tax benefits for new investments in electricity generation of this type. With this law, Argentina set out the long-term target of 20% of power demand to be covered by renewable energy with approximately 10 GW of renewable power generation to be added to the national grid by 2025. Power supply from renewable energy went from 1,8% before 2016 up to 6% of total power supply in 2019, reaching half of the 12% projected goal for 2019/2020. During this period, the total of the capacity awarded between Argentina’s government contracts and private corporate PPAs was 6.5 GW of new renewable energy capacity, of which, to date, approximately 4 GW are operational, and 1,7 GW were developed with the support of carbon offsets.
Although moving in the right direction, Argentina still faces many challenges to meet the 20% renewable energy target by 2025, set out by the government. The expansion of private investment in projects such as the Parque de Los Llanos photovoltaic plant is key to increase the supply of renewable energy, and carbon offsets represent an opportunity for diversification of sources of income for these new projects.
About the Project
In 2017, EFESA decided to get involved with the fulfilment of the objective set by Argentina’s government, and designed the Parque de Los Llanos photovoltaic power plant, an innovative renewable energetic model.
The project activity consists of installing and operating a new photovoltaic power plant in Chamical, La Rioja province, in the northwest region of Argentina, with a total installed capacity of 30 MW. The photovoltaic plant is composed by Parque de los Llanos I, II and III which will contribute to meet the electricity demand of the country by generating power using zero emissions photovoltaic technology. Currently, the first two plants are operational for a total of 20MW. Its third power plant of 10MW will be completed by the end of 2021. The project’s goal is to mitigate climate change by supplying zero GHG emissions electricity to the grid (neither fossil fuels are used to generate electricity nor to operate the photovoltaic power plants), displacing fossil-fuel based power plants (CO2 emitters derived from the oxidation of fossil-fuels) and showing an alternative way for private investors to participate and promote large scale power generation by means of renewable energy sources. Project developers are hoping that Parque de los Llanos will inspire other companies and attract more investments into the renewable sector.
In 2018, EFESA hired CFB Energy as an expert advisor in renewable energies in the country for the development and implementation of the project and as a climate advisor. CFB Energy supported the company to align its activities to the latest standards of climate reporting and to monetise the carbon assets to be generated by Parque de los Llanos. In order to achieve Gold Standard certification requirements, CFB Energy partnered with EcoSecurities, with the local support of ProSustentia. EcoSecurities is a pioneer company in carbon markets and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation projects around the world.
A Pioneer in Argentina
Parque de los Llanos umbrella project, carried out by EFESA, is the first project to receive the Gold Standard certification in Argentina, and the first solar photovoltaic project to receive Gold Standard certification in South America. Gold Standard is a very rigorous and prestigious independent and voluntary crediting mechanism, having a particular focus on generation and reporting of co-benefits, such as employment and health improvements for local communities, alongside emission reductions from its projects.
Since its creation, EFESA's goal was to operate under high social and environmental standards, transparency and professionalism. Its innovative actions are demonstrated in that EFESA is the only Argentine B Corporation that has a renewable energy generating plant, and is the first company of its kind to obtain a Gold Standard certification in the country. Both achievements being an innovative and differentiated model that pursues the triple impact: economic, social and environmental.
“For EFESA, created only 3 years ago, it is a great pride to have achieved this certification and to be the first Project in Argentina to receive the Gold Standard certification. In this very particular year 2020, having fulfilled our goals of certifying, both as B Corporation and in Gold Standard, strengthens us in our commitment to sustainable development in our country and a stimulus for our future growth.”, mentioned Florencia Benedicto, Director of EFESA and Francisco Muro, President of EFESA.
Project achievements and support to local infrastructure
Gold Standard, established in 2003 by WWF and other international NGOs, ensures that projects that reduce carbon emissions feature the highest levels of environmental integrity and contribute to sustainable development. With the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, Gold Standard launched a best practice standard for climate and sustainable development interventions, Gold Standard for the Global Goals, to maximise impact, creating value for people around the world.
Sustainable development of the region and Argentina is the mission of EFESA with the goal to contribute to the transformation of the country's energy matrix, through the generation of clean energy. The company includes social safeguard practices and environmental impacts in the development of their projects. Parque de los Llanos contributes to achieving SDGs 7 (affordable and clean energy), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), and 13 (climate action). The project, which employed 130 people at its peak, is integrated into national NDCs, will reduce 28,291 tCO2e per year and will generate an annual generation volume of 62,649 MWh. Chamical is located at the end of the power line (132kV), having fluctuations and imbalance problems. The improvement in the electrical infrastructure of the region has already increased the quality of life of the population by providing a more stable and predictable service with fewer power outages.
The best practice standard for climate and sustainable development interventions – Gold Standard for the Global Goals – customises safeguards, requirements, and methodologies to measure and verify impact in climate and development. Obtaining the Gold Standard certification is a victory to EFESA and to Argentina, a reward for its sustainable development commitments. Parque de Los Llanos demonstrates that it is possible to supply an entire region of energy without emitting GHG, while contributing to the economic and social development of the region, and ultimately of the country.
"The CFB Energy team is proud to have accompanied and advised EFESA since its inception to complete its innovative Parque de los Llanos Photovoltaic Plant and have successfully met all the proposed goals with the best standards of professionalism and quality," said María Florencia Arcieri, Managing partner and Founder of CFB Energy.
“EcoSecurities has always been a pioneer and pathfinder in the development of carbon markets.”, said Pablo Fernandez, EcoSecurities CEO. “We are very glad to work together with EFESA on the development of the very first Gold Standard project in Argentina, creating the carbon credits with the highest standards possible. We hope such achievements support not only the capital mobilisation to renewable energy and biodiversity conservation projects in Argentina, but also promote the development of the local voluntary actions and the local carbon markets.”