MicroEnergy Credits Carbon Program: Stringent Measures Ensuring No Over-Crediting of Emission Reductions

Posted: January 4, 2024

Over-crediting in the context of carbon reduction/avoidance projects pertains to issuing more emission reductions than are achieved or attributable to a project. To mitigate this potential risk, MicroEnergy Credits (MEC) adopts various safeguards throughout project implementation.

These range from program-level safeguards aligned with the IC-VCM’s Core Carbon Principles to technology-level safeguards based on the latest science, research, and best practices.

Measures in place to avoid over-crediting

  • Robust sampling methods

MEC’s projects have a robust sampling approach for all three technologies i.e. improved cookstoves, water purification systems and distributed solar lamps/solar home lighting systems.  The sampling approach is designed keeping in mind the heterogeneity in the population across geographical sub-divisions of the specific project boundaries, and the associated differences in the parameters monitored for GHG impact quantification.

Samples are randomly chosen from specific geographical sub-divisions where products are implemented, thereby ensuring that a random subset of a population is selected, meaning that the samples are representative of the cooking/water consumption/lighting practices in the state.  This stratified approach yields unbiased estimates of population parameters and accounts for differences in the way these technologies and resulting services are used.

  • Seasonal Variation

Monitoring of certain parameters for improved cookstoves and water purification systems are designed in a manner to account for the effects of seasonal variation. For improved cookstoves, the quantity of fuel consumed for cooking (both in baseline and project scenarios) is conducted both in dry and wet seasons. The conservative value between the two seasons is considered for calculating the emission reductions.  Similarly, for water purification systems, the quantity of water consumed per person per day also considers season variation ensuring that the results are conservative.

  • Cross-Check Mechanism

As a general practice, MEC cross-checks the fixed monitoring parameter values with credible literature or the latest available government data to ensure the results are aligned. A few examples are cited below:

  1. The quantity of fuel used for cooking (parameters Pb and Pp) is cross-checked against the University of Berkeley’s report “Cooking the books: Pervasive over-crediting from cookstoves offset methodologies” to ensure that the service level caps prescribed are never crossed.
  2. For the quantity of water consumed per person per day (parameter QPWy), the value is cross-checked against the WHO report “Technical Notes on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Emergencies.
  3. Similarly, the value for the parameter the proportion of the population already using safe water (parameter Cb) is cross-checked against the Jal Jeeval Mission (JJM), an initiative by the Government of India and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) water quality testing reports under their National Water Quality Monitoring Programme (NWQP).
  • Quarterly and Annual Monitoring

In addition to the methodological requirements, MEC also conducts quarterly monitoring for solar lighting systems and annual monitoring for improved cookstoves and water purification systems.

  1. Every quarter of the calendar year, MEC partner organizations conduct monitoring to check whether the solar lighting system is operational. This is done for all the products part of the project.
  2. All the products (solar lighting system, improved cookstove, and water purification system) are checked by partner organizations in the last month of the calendar year to check the usage status.

If the products are found non-operational in any quarter (for solar) and end of the calendar year (for all technologies) then emission reduction is not claimed for those households.

These measures are deployed in addition to the monitoring frequencies prescribed for certain parameters in the applied methodology resulting in any systemic issues with adoption and usage of these products as well as being able to provide timely after-sales service.

  • Defining “Use” and “Non-Use”

For improved cookstoves, MEC has defined “use” vs “non-use” in the project design document to determine which household should be considered eligible for crediting. During monitoring, if any household is found not using the project stove daily or the stove is found not in use through visual inspection then emission reduction is not claimed for those households. This is a more conservative approach than what other projects in the sector use where a “user” could be a household that uses the stove up to once a week. Similarly, for the water purification system, if a household has not used the water purifier once in two days, then emission reduction is not claimed for those households. 

  • Fraction of Non-Renewable Biomass (fNRB)

MEC uses the CDM tool 30 version 4.0 to calculate the fNRB. The fNRB value calculated uses the value of 0.5 tonnes per annum for calculating wood harvest as a measure of conservativeness.

  • Robust Data Management System

MEC employs a robust database management team that develops customized data model algorithms and proprietary software that surgically scans and eliminates any duplicate records of end-users through multiple levels of data modeling checks. To implement these checks successfully, MEC engages with partner organizations to submit an extensive monthly database of loan records corresponding to clean energy product sales.

Click here to learn more about our data management system.

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