Over-crediting in the context of carbon reduction/avoidance projects refers to issuing higher emission reduction than what occurs. To address this risk, during the implementation of projects, MicroEnergy Credits (MEC) implements several measures including rigorous baseline assessments to identify households that genuinely need the clean energy devices and are likely to use them as intended. MEC partners also provide education and training to end-users on the proper use of the devices and follow-up with households to ensure that product is used as intended.
Over-crediting also occurs from poor sampling techniques adopted by project developers that does not appropriately represent the project’s target population while taking into consideration issues like heterogeneity of the monitored parameter for GHG quantification. Other factors contributing to over-crediting in the context of improved cookstove projects can be not accounting for stove stacking, non-conservative approaches to fuel-savings, not adjusting for seasonal effects. MEC’s projects have a much higher likelihood of under-crediting due to several conservative factors and measures that were used in calculation of the emission reductions claimed.
Robust sampling methods
MEC’s projects go beyond the requirements of the methodology and the CDM guidelines on sampling as follows:
MEC carries out sampling and monitoring at VPA level although the standards provide the option to carry out a cross-VPA monitoring. This means it monitored a higher sample size than required by the methodology. MEC’s Cookstove projects use a 90/10 confidence/precision while applying the sample size calculation and ascertaining the reliability of our results. The 90/10 confidence/precisions result in a higher sample size than the 90/30 allowed by some cookstove methodologies. Our projects stratify the boundary into clearly defined homogeneous areas and the monitoring for all parameters of interest is done for all of these areas.
No stove stacking
Stacking of stoves is robustly accounted for. For many of our projects, stove stacking with the baseline stove is simply not possible because baseline stoves are systematically taken and scrapped. There are established incentive measures for the end users to give up their baseline stoves. Further, by applying the homogeneity logic at a state/district level, we are able to capture any stove stacking with other stoves like LPG, electric etc. with a greater accuracy.
Conservative fuel-saving measure, seasonal effects
In our Mongolia projects, the fuel savings are measured using advanced regression model accounting not only for project fuel usage, but also external factors like temperature and wind speed prevailing during the winter months in Mongolia, for the CDM Programme. The approach used for calculating fuel savings is specific for individual districts/regions, different seasons (Autumn, Winter & Spring) and for different dwelling types, which increases the accuracy of ER calculations. This model was specifically requested by the CDM board during the project validation and is far more precise and advanced than other cookstove modelling methods.
The project has also conservatively not credited the four warmest months of the year, even though the stove is also used in those months. The Project conservatively does not rely on stove efficiency assumptions for ER calculations. For transparency, the project reports a stove efficiency which is from lab tests. However, the actual ER calculations use an even more robust method. Fuel is weighed in kitchen performance tests (KPTs). This is then combined with the external factors including temperature and windspeed and is specific for individual districts, and for each season.
The project exceeds other cookstove projects in measuring seasonal effects. To conservatively measure seasonal effects, the project carries out fuel saving calculation efforts for each of the three seasons during the heating season including autumn, winter, and spring. The regression analysis takes into consideration the air temperature and wind speed to estimate the baseline fuel consumption. This approach is more robust than carrying out KPTs once a year or biennially, as required by most cookstove methodologies.
The project follows the default figures provided by the IPCC, as required by the methodology. The figures used by MEC are conservative compared to the most recent default values. The parameters of interest usage rates, fuel savings etc. are monitored using kitchen performance tests on a sampling basis and VVB/DOE audited before undergoing another level of review at Gold Standard.