VER+ (VERplus)

Currently active program (as of 1/2011), this section last updated in 2009, no updated information available.

www.netinform.de/KE/Beratung/Service_Ver.aspx


Overview
Market Size and Scope
Offset Project Eligibility
Additionality Requirements and Project Methodologies
Project Approval Process


Overview

Type of Standard and Context

The VER+ closely follows the Kyoto Protocol’s project-based mechanisms (CDM and JI).
The VER+ standard was developed by TÜV SÜD, a Designated Operational Entity (DOE) for the validation and verification of CDM projects. It was designed for project developers who have projects that cannot be implemented under CDM yet who want to use procedures similar to the CDM. The VER+ was launched in mid-2007. The revised version 2 of the VER+ Standard was launched in May 2008. Any DOE/AIE accredited for corresponding scopes under UNFCCC may carry out validations and verifications for VER+ projects.

Standard Authority and Administrative Bodies

TÜV SÜD certification body “climate and energy” has four members who supervise and administer the VER+ standard’s criteria. The same body also reviews all the CDM projects that TÜV SÜD audits as a DOE before the documents are submitted to the CDM EB.

Third Party Auditors are CDM- and JI-accredited auditors. They are approved to validate and verify projects. In the validation and verification process, the auditing company is obliged to follow the requirements as defined by the Validation and Verification Manual (published by Worldbank / IETA), in its most recent version. Unlike under CDM, but similar to VCS and GS, accredited third party auditors can validate and verify the same project.

Regional Scope

The VER+ is an international voluntary carbon offset standard. VER+ has offset projects worldwide.

Recognition of Other Standards/ Linkage with Other Trading Systems

If a project that has been initially implemented under another standard seeks VER+ certification, a so-called “equivalence check” is carried out. Based on validation and verification reports, the auditor in charge confirms that the already audited project also complies with VER+ requirements.

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Market Size and Scope

Tradable Unit and Pricing Information

VER+ offsets of 07 and 08 vintage traded at 3.25 Euros per tonne in the spring of 2009 (Carbon Finance, April 2009).

Participants/Buyers

VER+ is marketed to parties within countries that have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, project owners of CDM and non-CDM projects, and companies seeking to offset emissions and/or incorporate VER credits into their corporate or public climate change mitigation programs.

Current Project Portfolio

As of 1st of June 2009 the BlueRegistry has registered 24 carbon projects, generating VER+ credits in the following countries: China, India, Russia, Turkey, Lithuania, Germany, Brazil, Chile, Fiji, Mexico and Peru. The Blue Registry lists more than 2.6 million VER+ credits and 400,273 VER+ offsets have been permanently retired.

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Offset Project Eligibility

Project Types

VER+ accepts all project types except HFC projects, nuclear energy projects and hydropower projects over 80MW. Hydro projects exceeding 20MW have to conform with World Commission on Dams rules. LULUCF projects, including REDD, are accepted if implemented with a buffer approach to address the risk of potential non-permanence.

Project Locations

VER+ follows the same project criteria as JI but without limitation to the status of the host country. Hence, the host country can be an Annex I, non-Annex I or nonratification country.

The VER+ standard avoids conflicts of double counting by requiring the retirement of AAUs by the authorities in charge of the host nation. Thus, the host country (which has ratified the Kyoto Protocol and assumed a reduction target) shall confirm that an equivalent amount of AAUs is set aside in the national account (registry) and is not used.

Project Size

No restrictions apply.

Start Date 

Applications for retroactive VER+ accreditation can be submitted for start dates as early as January 1st, 2005. Retroactive crediting has been limited such that credits are issued for 2 years back from the registration date and will be phased out by the end of 2009.

Crediting Period

The crediting period of VER+ activities ends at the end of the latest-agreed commitment period under the UNFCCC scheme. At the end of 2012, a brief check-up on the “Kyoto status” of the host country will be carried out to avoid double-counting with UNFCCC regimes. Once this review is carried out, the crediting period will be extended up to the end of the next commitment period (as defined by UNFCCC). At the end of this next commitment period (e.g. 2020), a revalidation is required. The maximum crediting periods are limited to 25 years for standard projects and 50 years for LULUCF activities.

CDM Pre-Registration Credits

It is possible to generate VER+ credits before registering a CDM project without any further on-site audit. A registered CDM project has to have begun operating and reduced emissions prior to UNFCCC registration. The earliest starting date for this pre-CDM/JI crediting is the date of publication of the PDD on the UNFCCC website (Global Stakeholder Process) and is limited to 2 years. VER+ crediting may occur until CDM/JI registration. No separate PDD is needed for CDM or JI activities applying for VER+ credits for a crediting period prior to the one under UNFCCC.

Co-benefit Objectives and Requirements

If the project activity requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) due to national legislation, it must be submitted for project approval. If required by national law, a local stakeholder process must be carried out. Otherwise, the project developer can choose between:
• Performing a voluntary stakeholder process and submitting documentation in the VER+ Project Design Document (PDD), or
• Justifying in the VER+ PDD that the project does not impact the vicinity.

As in CDM, the PDD is published for 30 days on the DOE’s website and comments can be made via the website, which will then be considered in the audit process.

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Additionality Requirements and Project Methodologies

Additionality Requirements

Additionality tests for VER+ are project-based.
VER+ projects are required to:

  • follow specific additionality rules of an approved CDM methodology or
  • in all other cases, apply the most recent version of the CDM Additionality Tool.

Quantification Protocols

All CDM-approved baselines and methodologies are allowed. The latest versions of the CDM methodologies must be used. If there is no existing CDM methodology that matches the project conditions, a project-specific methodology can be developed. This new methodology is reviewed on a project by project basis. The project methodology must be based on “guidance on criteria for baseline setting and monitoring” as defined for JI activities.

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Project Approval Process

Validation and Registration

The requirements are similar to those of CDM but they do not require approval from the host country and include a completed PDD and a validation report. A UNFCCC-accredited auditor reviews the validation process and approves the project. The project can then be registered. The results of the validation (as well as verification at a later stage) are forwarded by the project’s auditor to the BlueRegistry, where relevant information of VER+ projects is held and made publicly available.

A project-specific approach as defined for JI can be used for those project settings where a CDM-approved methodology is not available or fully applicable.

Monitoring, Verification and Certification

Verification is based on monitoring reports from the project developers and conducted by an auditor. The auditor also approves the verification report. All VER+ project documentation is submitted to the BlueRegistry. Unlike under CDM rules, an auditor is allowed to do validation and verification of the same project.

The first verification is required, at the latest, one year after registration of the starting date of the crediting period. For LULUCF projects, a first verification is required within 5 years from validation. For any VER+ activity, the frequency of the following verifications can be chosen by the project participants. Based on a positive verification statement, VER+ credits can be registered with BlueRegistry.

Registries and Fees

In June 2007, TÜV SÜD launched its own BlueRegistry for VER+ credits.

If verification has been carried out by TÜV SÜD, then all VER+ credits are automatically registered in the BlueRegistry without additional costs. For projects and credits not verified by TÜV SÜD, there is a registration fee which covers incorporation into the BlueRegistry. TÜV SÜD charges a one-time subscription fee (550Euros) and a registration fee (400 Euros per year) for maintaining accounts. Blue Registry charges 0.03€ per transferred tonne of CO2e. The fee for permanent retirement and withdrawals of volumes less than 1000t is 150€ and 150€ + 0.03€ per tonne of CO2e for volumes greater than 1000t.

In an effort to prevent project developers from registering their credits with multiple registries, VER+ includes in its contract a clause that stipulates that the credit holder shall refrain from double-selling / registering. Agreements on the standardized interchange between registries are currently pending.
The VER+ is financed by funds from TÜV SÜD and by fees for the use of the BlueRegistry.

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