Velcan Energy, France

Velcan Energy, France FairClimate Fund, the Netherlands

Velcan Energy is a clean energy company that develops, finances and operates hydroelectric concessions in emerging countries. Currently, Velcan operates several hydropower plants in Brazil, Indonesia, India and Laos. They are a cost-effective, clean and durable way of producing electricity. Hydropower can compete against other conventional sources of power (nuclear and fossil fuels). Therefore, Velcan Energy does not need any special sort of subsidy or preferential feed-in tariff as other new sources of renewable power do.

They sell electricity on a commercial basis, either to big national companies, private power merchants or to industrial consumers. In most countries, we operate under a concessional regime. This means that they develop the projects, build the power plants, operate them for the duration of the concession, and then transfer ownership to the State. Concession durations are usually between 25 to 40 years.

In some locations, hydro power gets carbon credits as it replaces carbon intensive electricity and has a longer time to market than fossil fuel power plants. However, carbon credits are only a very minor part of their revenues.

Velcan Energy started off when the Kyoto Protocol was operationalised with the Marrakech Accord. A time when all of us were caught in a euphoria created with the belief that this would be the harbinger of climate justice and an international parity between the developed and the rest of the world. With market mechanisms as the instrument to set right disparities.

In a press statement in December 2005, Antoine Decitre said:

"We are very proud to be the first French company to have succeeded in obtaining approval for a Carbon Credit project in India. We have received the successive approvals from the Indian and French authorities and the Executive Board of CDM. Among the thousands of projects currently under development worldwide, only 46 have been approved. This registration confirms our ability to successfully manage the importing of Carbon Credits through the CDM, a process which Nelly Olin, French Environment Minister, has just announced its acceleration. This initial success confirms the soundness of our business decisions and will lead to increase in our investments in this area."

Velcan Energy was the very first company to put their money where their mouth was. They had the vision to see how the rural poor can be a part of the solution to Climate Change. in December 2005 by partnering with ADATS, Bagepalli, to construct 5,500 domestic Biogas units for as many rural women under a CDM Project.

Velcan Energy bought the entire 136,871 GS CERs that would be generated in the first 7 years, in advance, for an upfront payment of € 1.1 million. With this money, ADATS built 5,488 domestic biogas units for as many poor women in 339 villages.

After receiving 101,848 CERs (75% of the ERPA commitment), Velcan Energy generously decided to forgo the remaining 35,023 tCO2-e. All further Carbon Credits would belong to End User families. To this, they gifted another 10,456 CERs they had with them!