Climate Change Activists and friends of ADATS prepared a Biogas CDM Project and got it registered as the world's first pro-poor CDM Project on 10 December 2005. The plan was to build 5,500 domestic biogas units that replace non-renewable biomass used in the baseline and generate 19,553 CERs every year for the next 21 years.
ADATS entered into an Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement (ERPA) with Velcan Energy, France, wherein we sold the entire 136,871 CERs that would be generated during the first 7 years, in advance, for a lump sum of € 1.1 million.
With this money, ADATS built 5,485 domestic biogas units for as many poor women from 339 villages in Chickballapur Taluk in 2006 and 2007. The commissioning of all these units has been completed and poor women enjoy smoke-free cooking, cleaner kitchens, better health, and a huge saving in the time and effort they used to put in to collect firewood.
In keeping with our strict policy that we would not gain from carbon revenues, not a single Rupee was spent on overheads. 16 teams of ADATS Field Staff implemented this CDM Project voluntarily. 128 local Masons were trained to build these units at a nominal wage of Rs 800 per unit. Labour was contributed free of cost by the End Users' families, with the entire village Coolie Sangha assisting single women and the elderly. The total expenditure on the project was Rs 61.07 million and average cost per unit worked out to a mere Rs 11,089.
The total usage, as on 15 January 2010 , stands at 5,909,874 days, and 57,642 Emission Reductions (ERs) have been generated to date. If all these ERs are verified and sold in the Carbon Market, the Carbon Investor will already recover 115% of investments in just 3 years. Income from CER sales for the next 4 years will be their profit. Thenceforth, for the next 14 years, carbon revenue will be shared between Velcan Energy and 5,485 Coolie women — the End Users of the project who actually generate the CERs.
The first Verification of this Project has been completed and 11,761 CERs issued into the ETS and the Carbon Investor has already sold them at a premium price. The second Verification is now underway for another 35,993 CERs for the period Sept 2007-July 2009. In the meanwhile, this CDM Project has been registered as Gold Standard and we can therefore expect an even higher price per CER.
Please see http://cdm.unfccc.int/Projects/DB/DNV-CUK1131002343.1 for official project documents, including PDD, Monitoring Report(s), Issuance Certificate, etc.
There is, however, a flip side to all this — biogas is not a technology that reaches out to the "poorest of the poor". Since biogas units need both, cattle as well as space close to their houses, only 35% of the End Users are SC/ST women, 18% are from Middle Castes and 47% from Upper Caste families. 84% of them have good houses, 5% have modest houses, and the remaining 11% live in huts.