Colombia hydro projects win carbon credit approval

The United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) agency has approved two Colombia hydroelectric projects to sell carbon emissions credits that make the projects financially viable.

The Executive Board of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change issued a registration January 15 for the 19.8-MW La Herradura and 11.7-MW La Vuelta hydroelectric projects on La Herradura River in Colombia’s Antioquia Department.

The projects, developed by utility Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM) with the assistance of Electric Power Development Co. Ltd. of Japan (J-Power), are to cut fossil fuel use by thermal power plants and are projected to avoid carbon dioxide emissions by about 68,000 tons per year. J-Power is to buy the carbon emissions credits.

La Herradura and La Vuelta were completed in 2004. EPM had studied hydro projects in the basin since 1965, but did not proceed with development until conversions with CDM officials determined that carbon credits would make the projects economically viable.

�It is clear that the CDM registration was a critical, if not the most important fact that was taken into account when deciding to implement the proposed project activity,� a report on the projects said.

In 2002, EPM awarded a US$8.66 million contract to a consortium of Colombia’s Esguem and Russia’s Energomash to manufacture and supply generation and control equipment for the projects, which cost a total of US$38.7 million. Arquitectos e Ingenieros Asociados of Colombia received a US$17.8 million contract to build the projects. EPM also awarded a US$1.2 million contract to Integral-Sedic of Colombia to advise on construction and assembly of equipment.

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