After nearly three years of work, several photo and video shooting trips and meeting many of our friends and of course the households for which we are developing this projects, we are finally ready to talk about our programme! We would like to invite you to learn more about the Sichuan Household Biogas Programme, its participants and the benefits besides the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.
For nearly three years, people of UPM, of our local partner Oasis and of the Sichuan Rural Energy Office have been working on realising this amazing project. In that time, we have worked together with countless external auditors, national authorities, staff from the UN and most important, with the rural people of Sichuan to make this possible. It all started as an idea of our long-term partner Oasis and the people from the Sichuan Rural Energy Office:
In Summer 2010, Mr. Wang Hai, CEO of Oasis and Director Xu of the Sichuan Rural Energy Office (SREO) in Chengdu realised that the Clean Development Mechanism, that Oasis has been working on with UPM might be the ideal solution to a growing problem faced by the SREO: After having successfully promoted the installation of rural household biogas digesters for a long time, they came to a point, where the majority of wealthier households in Sichuan had installed the device. For low-income households however, the initial investment imposed a high burden and a lack of financial return could not justify the high price even though the digesters are enormously beneficial for the rural families. Furthermore, a declining technical performance of the digesters in the past has shaken the household’s trust in biogas digesters and discouraged them from the installation. The SREO therefore had difficulties to further distribute the digesters in extremely remote Sichuan hinterland.
Mr. Wang Hai then approached us to discuss the possibility of developing the project as a PoA or Programme of Activities under the CDM. This framework provides a set of rules to be defined for the specific programme, under which more and more households can be added to the overall programme once they are installed. By reducing carbon dioxide emissions and verifying those reductions with the UNFCCC, the programme can generate carbon credits that’s revenue can be used to provide an additional financial incentive to the households and provide free technical service by a growing network of service stations.
We have been absolutely excited about the idea and together with Oasis, we started the development of the programme and the preparation all necessary documents. The concept of a PoA was very new when we started the development, but in October 2010, we finally submitted the documents to TUEV Nord, who we had chosen as the auditors for the validation. The following validation was a complex process, as several revisions of the PoA regulations by the UN forced us to revise the entire project several times. Nevertheless, on 27th of June 2012, we finally received the note of registration by the UNFCCC secretariat. At that time, our PoA was the first ever registered household biogas PoA worldwide. Although several similar programmes have started the development and even a PoA Manual for household biogas programmes had been published by CD4CDM in the context of a similar programme in Vietnam, ours was the first one to get successfully registered. That made us incredibly proud of what we had achieved, but looking back now, it was only the beginning.
After that step had been achieved, we also started with the registration under the CDM Gold Standard. Because household biogas digesters and our programme provided so much more than just a reduction of CO2 emissions, it was just logical to also face the scrutiny Gold Standard and demonstrate that the programme meets all of its requirements.
Shortly after the registration under the Gold Standard, we then completed the first inclusion of a large number of households into the programme. We have currently more than 240,000 households registered and are preparing the documentation for the next group of 100,000 digesters. But even that is not all. For the next 5 years, we have targeted a total number of 1,000,000 installed digesters. Once we have reached that target, the programme will reduce two million tons of carbon dioxide per year and improve the lives of million of rural people in Sichuan province.
The purpose of this website
One of the most important aspects for us in the development of the Programme is transparency. All major project documentation is available for download on both, the UNFCCC– and the Gold Standard websites. To go even further than that, we have decided to provide as much information as possible on this website. The site itself and the video that we will upload soon will provide you with a lot of information to understand the programme even better. If you still should have questions, please also don’t hesitate to visit us in Munich or Beijing or contact us to request further information.