EFESA received its certification as “B Corporation”

EFESA received its certification as “B Corporation” 1000 626 Efesa

EFESA (Federal Corporation of Energy S.A) is a corporation with an Argentine-Spanish origin and belongs to DAGMA, INVERCLUB and NORTIA economic groups, which work in the generation of photovoltaic solar energy. In the last days it was certified as “B LAB” and, thus, turned into the first B Corporation in the groups. EFESA works in the sustainable development of the country based on the generation of renewable energy from the Photovoltaic Solar Energy Park “De los Llanos”, in Chamical, La Rioja.

“Having achieved this certification is very important for us. Being a B corporation is a constant challenge because it entails thinking about and working in the welfare of our community and our environment. We have a commitment towards the sustainable development in the country and that drives us to innovate and to contribute to the generation of renewable energy” claimed Francisco Muro, CEO in EFESA.

The Goal of B corporations is to prove that a corporation’s economic growth can go together with the creation of benefits for the society and the planet. These corporations take advantage of the market force to give solutions to environmental and social problems, and develop their activity generating a triple impact – economic, social and environmental- in a simultaneous way, having a legal and long term commitment of ongoing improvement. There are 3,500 B Corporations in 71 countries in the world and 120 are in Argentina. B corporations commit to generate a positive impact on the society and the environment, by operating with high social, environmental and transparency standards, while they seek the best financial performance.

In order to protect this double mission before possible changes of direction, corporations incorporate a commitment in their bylaws taking not only the financial interests of their shareholders, but also other long term interests such as the employees, suppliers and clients, the community to which they belong and the environment into account. Production of electricity through renewable sources of energy has been declared of national interest. Through Law 27,191, in October 2015, it was established that 20% of the electricity consumed at a national level should be generated by renewable sources by 2025. EFESA decided to contribute to achieving the goal through the development, building, operation and maintenance of an electric-energy generating photovoltaic solar park. For this reason, it generates renewable energy for the consumption of other companies and it turned into the first MaTer Corporation (Acronym in Spanish for Mercado a Término de Energías Renovables: Renewable Energy Futures Market) in Argentina.

The park, installed in a 170-hectare land, started running in February 2018 with the first 12 MW of power. In 2019 the capacity was increased to 20 MW and it is expected to be increased to 30 MW with which it will have more than 100 polycrystalline panels of 72 cells each. Today, it means more than 3% of the photovoltaic energy of the country.

First carbon project with a Gold Standard certificate registered in Argentina

First carbon project with a Gold Standard certificate registered in Argentina 1000 626 Efesa

Empresa Federal de Energía S.A (EFESA), CFB Energy and Ecosecurities worked together in order to certify Los Llanos park as the first Gold Standard photovoltaic solar project in South America.

In 2015, the Argentine government enacted a new renewable energy law (Law N° 27,191) granting tax benefits to new investments in the generation of energy of this kind, by which it established the long-term country’s goal: that 20% of the energy demand had to be covered by renewable sources by 2025. Projections for 2019/2020 are that we would have achieved that goal in a 12%, that’s why fulfilling the goals by 2025 is still a big challenge. Therefore, expansion in private investment in projects like the ones we have developed is key to increase the renewable energy offer, where carbon compensations represent an opportunity of growth and diversification of income sources as an incentive to these.

“For us, the sustainable development of the country and looking at the long term impact as we move forward is a big commitment. Developing a triple impact project constantly challenges us to think and work on the welfare of our community and of the environment, motivating us to innovate and to contribute with the generation of clean energy” states Francisco Muro, Chairman of EFESA.

About the Project

In 2017, EFESA decided to get involved in fulfilling the goal set by the Argentine government and moved forward with the installation and operation of a new photovoltaic energy plant in Chamical, province of La Rioja, in the Northwest region of Argentina, with a total installed capacity of 30 MW. The photovoltaic power plant is made up of Los Llanos Parks I, II and III, which will contribute to satisfy the country’s demand of power through the generation of energy with zero-emission photovoltaic technology. Nowadays, the two first plants are working with a total of 20MW and its third 10MW energy plant will be completed at the end of 2021.

Simultaneously, EFESA started working to comply with the Gold Standard certification requirements together with CFB Energy, EcoSecurities and ProSustentia. This initiative fosters control of GHG emissions thus mitigating the impact on the environment and, at the same time, it motivates private investors to participate and promotes the generation of energy at a large scale through renewable sources. The developers of the carbon project hope this park inspires other companies and attracts more investments in the renewable sector.

Los Llanos photovoltaic park Project carried out by EFESA is the first to receive the Gold Standard certification both in Argentina and in South America. Gold Standard is a very meticulous and prestigious voluntary and independent certification mechanism that has a peculiar approach in the creation and report of collateral benefits, like improvements in employment and in the health for local communities, together with reduction of emissions of their projects.

From the beginning, EFESA had the aim of operating under high social and environmental standards, as well as under transparency and professional standards. In this sense, its innovative and articulated actions are proven by the fact that it’s currently the only B-certified renewable energy generating plant in Argentina and, moreover, it is the first to obtain a certification in the so-called Gold Standard market, both achievements being an innovative and distinguishable model that pursues triple impact: economic, social and environmental.

“Having obtained this certification and being the first Project in Argentina to receive the Gold Standard certification is a great honor for EFESA, which was created only 3 years ago. In 2020, such a peculiar year, having accomplished our goals of Certifying, both as B corporation and as Gold Standard, reinforces our commitment with the sustainable development in our Country and it results in stimulation for our future growth” said Florencia Benedicto, Manager in EFESA.

Los Llanos Park Project includes social safeguard and environmental impact practices in the development of its projects and also favors the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (ODS for its acronym in Spanish): 7 (clean and affordable energy), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) and 13 (climate action) and it is estimated that it will reduce 28,291 tCO2e per year and will generate a 62,649 MWh annual energy volume.

Certificado Golden Standard

Obtaining the Gold Standard certificate is a huge result for EFESA and for Argentina, it’s a reward for its commitment towards sustainable development. Los Llanos park proves that it is possible to supply a whole area with energy without GHG emissions, contributing to economic development and social of the area and of the country.

Producers of Solar Energy

Producers of Solar Energy 1000 626 Efesa

“Being part of the Argentine generation of energy mix. Make investments that strengthen and diversify the productive mix of the country, putting faith in a long term sustainable development, providing clean energy in a sustainable form, with high quality, professional and responsible standards.” This is how EFE S.A corporation, which belongs to Inverclub S.A Group, and is currently developing Los Llanos Solar Park, located a few kilometers from the town of Chamical, in La Rioja, defines its mission.

The development of projects related to the use of renewable sources for power production is fostered in Argentina through Law 27,191. This law states that big users must incorporate a percentage of renewable energy consumption and, by 2025, it must reach twenty per cent of the total consumption of electrical energy, as a minimum. In this context, EFE S.A. seeks to contribute to fulfilling of the goal set by the national government through the development, building, operation and maintenance of the photovoltaic solar park. In order to know more about the project, PRESENTE spoke with Francisco Muro, Chairman of EFE S.A, and with Florencia Benedicto, Corporate Manager of Inverclub S.A.

In the first place, why have you decided to invest in renewable energy?

Francisco: On one side, corporations that make up the board of directors are electrical energy consumers, so it was very important for us to go where the world is going: towards renewable energy. Moreover, we have a commitment with Law 27,191, where it is established that a percentage of renewable energy must be purchased. In 2019, the percentage established by law was twelve per cent. Nowadays, as the project advances, we are above that percentage, and the idea is to operate one hundred per cent in a renewable way.

Investment has two goals: in the first place, the world is moving towards renewable energy and, in the second place, we are big consumers of energy; consequently, an option was to go out and buy other projects or operate in CAMMESA, the joint purchasing market, or in MATER (Renewable Energy Futures Market) that is not regulated and is between private parties. In this context, we decided to make our own project and to accompany the change by opening a new business unit. As we are consumers, it was also convenient for us to be producers.

What’s the importance of integrating sustainability in the investments?

Florencia: In the world, mainly in the most developed countries, corporations talk about the triple impact and experience shows, especially in their economic results, that these corporations are the ones that are growing, while the ones that do not contemplate environmental impact or the community where they operate in their decisions are being left out.

Once you’ve made the decision about investment, which was the next step?

Francisco: First, it was to define the technology, in this case, solar. As we didn’t belong to the energy area, it had to be accessible to implement. As for me, I had studied the topic of photovoltaic energy. Although I’m not a specialist, we surround ourselves with people who were specialists and who had already run parks. Having a team that had been in the field and that had known the problems and challenges was very important to us. It was essential at the time of choosing the team that accompanied us.

Another item to analyze is investment. A wind farm requires more land and more initial investment. It then generates more production but we first started being cautious, that’s why we headed towards the solar area and created a project that was scalable: we started with 12 MW; now we have 8 MW under construction and we’re going to include 10 MW more next year, reaching a total of 30 MW.

Once the technology is defined, the ability of transportation of the cables to connect to the network is evaluated. For example, in the south region of the country, the main lines are being highly demanded by wind farms. However, it’s sunny in the North and there is more capacity of transportation, as projects are smaller.

This type of project must have a great impact in the community…

Francisco: Yes, we are currently employing an engineer, three technicians and security staff that are from the area. The engineer who is with us was from Chamical, and thanks to the project, he could go back to his town and work from there.

The bond with the community was also important, they offered us access to water if we built the line and took it to two schools from the area who didn’t have it. Therefore, we took the water line, that was 12 km from it, and the schools could get access to it.

You’ve already complied with the percentage required by the law. Which is your current generation percentage?

Florencia: Our clients are Palermo racecourse and the whole Rosario’s casino complex. In the case of the racecourse, it’s 18 per cent in this period where production is low, but

it can reach 25 in the summer. In the case of the casino, it’s 38 per cent and can reach more than 40. The law states that 20 must be reached by 2025, but we will have achieved it by the end of the year. By 2020, when the 30 MW are installed, we will make both the racecourse and the casino one hundred percent renewable, and we will also be able to offer energy to other clients.

What are the plans for the future?

Florencia: Now – apart from solar energy – we started working in additional sub-products. In this line, we are working to enter the carbon credit voluntary marketplace and we will move forward with its issuance. In this market, you can issue carbon credit and, instead of being sold in the official market, it is offered to corporations that are interested in reducing its carbon footprint or seek to reach zero emissions. That is to say, if they emit a certain amount of greenhouse gases, they’ll try to be on a level with zero emissions by buying credit, but these corporations are not compelled to do so. They seek this credit because of a strategic and voluntary decision. At the same time, we’ve started the process to certify as B corporation. We’ve already modified the by-laws undertaking the commitment and we hope to continue in this path when we advance in the billing.