Carbon Credit For Household Biogas Plant of INSEDA Members and Partners under the Gold Standard
Myles, INSEDA / INFORSE-SouthAsia
This project has been developed under the Gold standard VER. Like a Certified Emission Reduction (CER), a VER (Voluntary Emission Reduction) is also a tradable commodity and refers to reduction of one tonne of greenhouse gas (GHG). The difference between a CER and a VER is that while CERs are generated according to standards and requirements of the Kyoto Protocol and UNFCCC, VERs are independently verified by a third party according to criteria that confirms that the emission reductions are real, measurable and credible.
A Gold Standard (GS) project ensures that the project is sustainable, flexible and transparent through a participatory approach with initial and main local stakeholder meetings.
Purpose of the Project Activity
To contribute towards sustainable development of the country through the implementation of household biogas plant and switching from non-renewable biomass like firewood to renewable biogas generated from utilizing animal wastes and other organic wastes in the rural areas of Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. In project activity clean and environmental friendly gas from the household (family size) bio-digester is utilized which is generated by utilizing animal and other organic wastes. Thus, hygienic conditions in the rural areas will be improved. Also, they are leading to reduction in greenhouse gas (GHS) emission by displacing conventionally used firewood for cooking, and thus contributing to the mitigation of Climate Change. In addition, these household biogas plants (bio-digesters) are also removing drudgery of rural women in the collection of fire wood and cooking, reduction of indoor pollution as well as, positively contributing to the overall empowerment of women and adolescent girls in rural India. The residues (biogas digested manure in the slurry-form) discharged after giving the environment-friendly and non-polluting gas from the bio digesters are being used as enriched organic fertilizer, increasing water holding capacity of the soil and improve the soil conditions for the crop production.
The biogas project activity is located in rural areas of Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. Consumption of firewood for household purposes in the rural areas is the main cause of deforestation in the surrounding areas of Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. The project comprehends around 4,000 household biogas plants in various districts of Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. In each of 4,000 households a biogas plant unit is installed, protecting the trees, thus reducing the release of greenhouse gases (GHS) to the atmosphere, positively contributing towards the mitigation of climate change. The biogas unit is of different capacities depending on the number of people in the household, and the availability of dung from their domestic farm animals. Biogas is generated in the bio-digesters, in which bovine (cattle & buffalo) dung (manure) and other organic waste is fed and allowed to be digested under anaerobic (in the absence of air) condition for few days, biogas (mainly a mixture of Methane-CH4 & Carbon dioxide-CO2 plus traces of other gases) thus generated is utilized for household purposes, mainly for cooking (using stove with specially designed burners) and to some extent for lighting (using especially designed biogas lamps with mantle).
Project Contribution to the Sustainable Development
The project has the goal of dissemination of biogas technology to improve
socio-economic condition of the rural people and reduce GHG emissions. This
biogas project is also contributing to the improvement of living standard of
the rural people. Brief advantages of the project are given below:
Social-Economic well being:
Technology well being:
Apart from the initial and main stakeholders’ consultations, the project cycle for a Gold Standard (GS) project is not very much different from a regular CDM project. It is essential, however, that the project is sustainable, is without negative environmental impacts and complies with the UNFCCC additionality requirements.
Steps Involved in Retroactive GS Cycle are:
For the household biogas plants, which is highly decentralised programme, and so much relevant to be considered for carbon credit, only those who have long practical experience of implementing such projects can understand the many socio-economic benefits which it provides to the rural communities, without even studying such elaborate documents like, PDD, Passport and other reports based on new studies by highly paid external experts.
When looking back, why we got involved in the carbon credit project for household
biogas plant of INSEDA member and partners under the Gold Standard, and continued
going through the cumbersome process for registering the project, the reasons
were several. Some of them being, INSEDA consultant, GTZ-CPU-India were so
good in marketing that they sold us the moon in terms of this project, and
also found us a very credible buyer, the First Climate. The First Climate signed
the agreement with INSEDA in May 2008 to buy the VER generated from our biogas
project, and ever since have been providing moral support. Their top executive
even visited the project site in MP, which is one of INDSEDA biogas project
states, to understand the project and realities at the grassroots level, meeting
and talking with the local poor owners of the biogas plants about the direct
and indirect benefits as well as made movie for awareness building of people
in the western countries and for promotional aspects. Another reason for continuation
with the process and not giving up in the middle was because of the faith and
expectations of grassroots members and partners in INSEDA, who along with INSEDA
had spent meagre resources for collection of data, information, documentation
and in the development of this biogas project and in organising various stakeholders
meetings as well as their own commitments to their end users. Therefore, in
spite of over three years of long wait we continued in the entire process.
Carbon Credit projects can be a very relevant for the socio-economic benefit of the rural people in India and South Asia and other developing countries, but as mentioned, in the present form it has to face many problems. At present the CDM, Gold Standard and other registering bodies of the carbon credit projects, use the mechanism which are not only too cumbersome, but also time consuming, as it takes as much as 3 years. Presently, it is very heavily loaded in favour of external consultants, as it involves detail documentations, baseline survey, validation, verification and monitoring etc. Because of all these the transaction cost becomes too high and the main project developer has to be on the mercy of these highly paid external consultants, not knowing till the end (which could take up to three years or more durations) whether the carbon credit project will be approved for registry or not? For any reasons the project falls through at any of the stages, the project developer has to pay heavily, and if a small developer is involved, it can lose, both money and become bankrupt, as well as loose credibility with the other stakeholders. In this process the real stakeholders (project developer/holder and the local NGOs with meagre resources as well as the poor end users) suffer, and mistrust is generated amongst them due to these delays.
In view of the above, it is recommended that process should be completely
revamped, to cut down the roles of external consultants, reduction in transaction
costs and reduction of project registration time by at least one fourth of
the present duration. There is also a need for providing some kind of development
funds, in the form of grant from the donor groups, which could sustain the
NGO project holders and members and partner grassroots NGOs till the project
INFORSE’s Manual’s Biogas section: “Sustainable
Energy Solutions to Reduce Poverty in South Asia”