Swedish Energy Agency invests in carbon credits from SoWiTec´s Uruguayan wind farm Minas I

The Swedish Energy Agency and SoWiTec have signed an agreement on 600,000 CERs generated by the wind farm Minas I, located outside the town of Minas in southeastern Uruguay.

The wind farm comprises 14 wind turbines, summing up to a total installed capacity of 42 MW, and is expected to become operational by July 2013. Due to excellent wind conditions in the area, the wind farm will deliver over 160,000 MWh per year to the national electricity grid. This represents about 2% of Uruguay's annual electricity consumption and facilitates the supply of more than 50,000 households with CO2 free electricity.

Today, only about 1% of Uruguay´s energy consumption is covered by wind energy, whereas large part of the country´s electricity generation depends on non-renewable thermal power generation and large hydropower stations. Therefore, the Uruguayan government set itself the goal to generate 15% of the country´s electricity from non-traditional renewable energy sources such as wind, biomass and small hydropower by 2015.

– Latin America, with many emerging economies, has a large market for renewable energy. It is great that Minas I contributes to an increased share of renewables in the region´s energy system and reduces large amounts greenhouse gas emissions, says Bengt Boström, head of the International Carbon Market Unit at the Swedish Energy Agency. The wind farm will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide only in its first seven years of operation.

– Minas I will be the first large wind farm in the region, adds Gerd Hummel, director of SoWiTec trading GmbH. This project will thus not only help to tackle climate change, but is also an important impetus for Uruguay on its way to a low-carbon society and will push the sustainable development on a local level, in the rural southeast of the country.

The Swedish Energy Agency engages in the CDM project Minas I through the acquisition of certified emission reductions under the regulatory framework of the Kyoto Protocol (see box). This will be the Agency's fourth CDM project in Latin America.

From the first project idea to what now is a ready-to-build project, SoWiTec has developed the wind farm Minas I, including the successful commercialization of its energy and the CDM project development, carried out by SoWiTec trading GmbH, the carbon market consultancy of SoWiTec group.

Founded in 1993, SoWiTec has developed and today operates more than 30 wind farms in Germany. From its headquarter office in Sonnenbuehl, in Southern Germany, SoWiTec has expanded to several developing and emerging markets in Latin America and to Russia. It today combines its year-long expertise in all sections of wind energy project development, such as wind measurement, engineering, financing and EPC, with local knowledge of its 150 employees worldwide.

CDM – one of the Kyoto Protocol's project-based flexible mechanisms

The CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) is based on the implementation of specific projects that contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases. CDM projects are implemented in countries that have commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and contribute to sustainable development in these countries. CDM projects are reviewed and approved by the UNFCCC. The CO2 certificates – the so-called CER (certified emission reductions) – generated by CDM projects may be acquired by companies or countries and used to meet international commitments under the Kyoto Protocol or the EU, or to reach national targets.