GoClimate’s thoughts on financing climate projects

For us at GoClimate, it is incredibly important that we maximize the climate benefit of the funds for climate projects contributed by our members and corporate customers.

We have therefore started writing a series of articles diving into how to do as much climate impact as possible with money.

First, a short disclaimer: We are aware that climate financing is part of a larger whole, which includes behavioral changes and systemic changes. Our work spans three main areas: driving systemic change, enabling behavioral change reducing emissions and support for financing climate projects. This article series will focus on financing climate projects.

In this series of articles, we will look at different types of initiatives to support if you want to make a climate impact with your money:

  • Projects that influence society: There are many initiatives working for greater change in society. We try to support projects where our contributions are ‘additional’, meaning they contribute to climate benefits that would not otherwise occur. This area is complex and requires careful evaluation of the climate projects’ effectiveness. Despite the challenges especially in quantifying future impact that additional financing could bring, we strongly believe in supporting these types of organizations and initiatives to achieve changes at the societal level.
  • Projects that reduce emissions: This is the main type of project we support and what members or corporate customers contribute to when they buy tons of CO2e or carbon credits as they are also called. It includes support for projects that contribute to reduced carbon dioxide emissions, such as through energy-efficient stoves or projects in renewable energy. We see these projects as critical because they contribute to reducing emissions – which is the most important thing for us as a society to do right now. However, we are aware that these projects are not perfect and that their climate benefit can sometimes be difficult to quantify, especially in terms of calculating different future scenarios when the projects are started.
  • Projects that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere: These projects include both nature-based and technical solutions. Nature-based solutions such as tree planting and conservation of forests are important, but also complex in terms of issues about their permanence, land use, and what would have happened without climate financing. Regarding technical solutions such as carbon capture, these are promising but still in an very early stage and small scale and often very expensive – which means that you don’t achieve much impact per dollar spent. We actively follow developments in this area, however, and are open to including them in the future.

At GoClimate, we use strict criteria for selecting climate projects, which include certification, additionality, verifiability, traceability, permanence, and contribution to sustainable development. Our main focus has so far been on projects certified by Gold Standard, which we consider to have the highest requirements for climate projects right now.

We are always ready to adapt and reconsider our strategies to ensure that our efforts provide the greatest possible climate benefit.

We will go through the different types of projects and the ins and outs of them in the next articles in this series. Stay tuned!

Kutch Wind Power Project in India

The GoClimate community is now supporting the Kutch Wind Power Project in India. The project is Gold Standard-certified and GoClimates contribution amounts to 20 000 tonnes of avoided CO2e-emissions.

Introduction

India has been experiencing a rapid growth in energy demand, resulting in increased greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. In order to diversify the energy mix and promote sustainable development, heavy investments in renewable energy sources, such as wind power, is needed. One example of this is the Kutch Wind Power Project, which has been making significant contributions to the nation’s clean energy goals and local communities.

Kutch Wind Power Project: An Overview

Located in the Kutch region of Gujarat, the Kutch Wind Power Project consists of 150 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 2 MW. With a total installed capacity of 300 MW, the project generates approximately 700,000 MWh of clean energy annually.

Climate Benefits

The Kutch Wind Power Project’s positive impact on the environment is big. By generating clean, renewable energy, the project helps in reducing India’s reliance on fossil fuels and curbing greenhouse gas emissions. It is estimated that the project prevents the release of over 550,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents per year, which is equivalent to taking more than 117,000 cars off the road annually.

Socioeconomic Benefits

Beyond its environmental benefits, the Kutch Wind Power Project also provides various socioeconomic advantages to the local communities. 73 employment opportunities have been created for local workers, both during the construction and operational phases of the wind farm. Moreover, it has helped enhance the skill sets of the local workforce through technical training and capacity building programs.

The project has also made significant contributions to the development of local infrastructure. It has helped improve the accessibility of remote areas by constructing and maintaining roads. Additionally, the project has facilitated the installation of street lighting, improving safety and security in nearby villages.

Furthermore, the project supports several community development initiatives, such as providing clean drinking water, promoting education, and improving healthcare facilities. By investing in these essential services, the Kutch Wind Power Project contributes to the overall well-being and quality of life for the local population.

Conclusion

The Kutch Wind Power Project stands as a testament to the transition to a sustainable energy future. By harnessing the power of wind, the project not only contributes to climate change mitigation efforts but also fosters socioeconomic development in the region. As India continues to invest in renewable energy, projects like the Kutch Wind Power Project serve as an inspiration for other countries to follow suit in the global pursuit of a greener, more sustainable future.

Fuel efficient stoves in Honduras

The GoClimate community is supporting a Gold Standard project financing fuel efficient stoves in Honduras. The installation of these improved stoves does a lot of good. Indoor toxic smoke is being avoided , CO2 emissions are being reduced, trees are saved and new job opportunities created. The non-profit organization selling the carbon offsets to finance the stoves is called Proyecto Mirador.

Open Fire Cooking Causes Problems

Honduras boasts the fourth largest rainforest in the world, but deforestation is occurring at an alarming rate. One of the causes for deforestation is that wood is used as fuel. To lessen deforestation is crucial. Forests help keep our climate stable and regulate our water supply, in addition to providing home to many animal species. Along with the climate crisis, the loss of biodiversity is one of the current and most severe threats to the planet today.

The collection and burning of firewood for cooking is a time intensive task in Honduras, usually a burden for women. It destroys precious village-side forests and causes smoke-related health issues. According to the WHO, close to 4 million people globally die each year prematurely from illness attributable to household air pollution from inefficient cooking practices using polluting stoves paired with solid fuels and kerosene.

The project

The fuel efficient stoves combine clean combustion technology with local Honduran cooking practices. They are sold at an affordable price. The combustion process is more clean and efficient, compared to the traditional open fire system. Less fuel is needed and smaller branches can be used. This helps save the forests.

The toxic carbon monoxide is reduced by 79 percent, while the methane emissions are reduced by 94 percent. Reducing methane has a substantial positive impact on the climate. It’s a powerful greenhouse gas and the second largest contributor to global warming.  The gas has a global warming potential over 80 times that of carbon dioxide over a 20-year horizon. Methane has a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide – only twelve years, compared to up to hundreds for CO2 – so cuts in methane will limit temperature increase faster than cuts to carbon dioxide.

The project has the potential to mitigate 225 000 tonnes of CO2 yearly. To understand how much this is, the EU average CO2 emissions per person and year is 6.8 tonnes. 225 000 tonnes correspond to the emissions of more than 30 000 people living in Europe. 

Economic Benefits

Apart from the positive impact on the environment and Honduran people’s health, the Mirador project provides economic benefits. Women now have more free time for other activities, and can spend money previously reserved for fuel on other essentials. A microenterprise program also runs alongside this project, training entrepreneurs and providing specialized parts to build and install the stoves. 17 thriving microenterprises have expanded to provide 170 local jobs in areas where reliable employment is difficult to find.

The following SDGs are supported

Clean Water Project in Cambodia

The GoClimate community has contributed to a ceramic water purifier project in Cambodia. The project helps improve public health, avoid CO2 emissions and reduce deforestation. Previously, no ceramic water purifier programs have been commercially viable in Cambodia. With the assistance of carbon finance, this project is economically sustainable.

In total, the project has the potential to provide clean drinking water to an estimated 312,000 households over 7 years. GoClimate’s offsetting 6,700 tonnes CO2 is a part of this. Thank you to all our members who have contributed!

The Importance of Clean Water and the Problems with Getting Access to It

In Cambodia, the majority of the population boils water (to make it safe for drinking) on wood fire stoves. Many people do not use any sort of purifying process at all. Drinking unpurified water can lead to illnesses, where young children are particularly vulnerable. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, lack of access to safe drinking water is one of the biggest threats to humanity today. 

In the cases where the water is boiled, the smoke from the fire can have very harmful effects on respiratory health. Women and children are particularly exposed, spending a lot of time doing household work.  

Boiling is an energy intensive and time-consuming purification method, often involving burning wood. Burning wood leads to emissions of CO2, as well as to deforestation. To lessen deforestation is crucial as forests help keep our climate stable and regulate our water supply, in addition to providing home to many animal species. Along with the climate crisis, the loss of biodiversity is one of the most severe threats to the planet today.

The Solution

The project sells ceramic water purifiers to families across Cambodia. Once the water has passed through the ceramic filter the clean water is stored in a plastic container, giving safe drinking water at just a turn of the tap. No wood is needed, easing the pressure on Cambodia’s vulnerable forests. In addition, the CO2 emissions that would have come from boiling are omitted. 

Other Benefits

Cleaning water through ceramic water purifiers is good for the forests and the climate. 

Furthermore, as indoor smoke is reduced, respiratory health improves, while clean drinking water is an essential component to combatting diarrheal illness. The overall public health is improved, and this helps stimulate economic activity. Rural households save the cost for buying wood, as well as save the labour spent on preparing the water. Their resources are freed up for other activities.

The filters are produced at a purpose-built factory in Cambodia providing employment opportunities to locals. The filters have a number of low-interest financing options and many are sold to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who offer them at a subsidised price.

The project contributes to the following SDGs:

Low-carbon Public Transport in Delhi

In busy Delhi, with more than 18 million inhabitants, air pollution is a big problem. In addition to causing severe health problems – air pollution caused 1.9 million deaths worldwide in 2019- the emissions from traffic harm us and our one and only planet.

To address this, GoClimate has contributed to the Gold Standard project Regenerative braking technology for DMRC. This project aims at transforming the public transport system operated by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). By increasing the system’s energy efficiency, the project has the potential to mitigate CO2 emissions by on average 47 000 tonnes per year. This reduction corresponds to cutting the yearly emissions from nearly 10 000 people living in India.

Technological Innovation

The project increases energy efficiency in the DMRC transport system by replacing old car brakes with new regenerative braking technology. The regenerative braking technology conserves electrical energy, reducing energy consumption from the electricity grid, leading to cuts in GHG emissions. As of 1st June 2021, DMRC has constructed a massive transport network of around 389 km with 285 stations, meaning that many people are able to commute in an energy efficient way.

What else has the project contributed to?

The project has created both new jobs and training opportunities. The project owner also engages in a number of community initiatives, for example creating the popular Delhi Metro Museum.

This project contributes to the SDGs 4, 7, 8, 9 and 13.

Biogas generation in Thailand

Cassava starch production is a large industry in Thailand. It serves many purposes and is among other things used for food, animal feed and industrial purposes. As with all production, it however has its downsides. The main one being that the industrial process generates large amounts of wastewater, which emits methane when stored in open lagoons, as is the norm.

Capturing methane

GoClimate and its members have contributed to the Gold Standard project CYY Biopower Wastewater Treatment Plant in Thailand. By installing a closed anaerobic system, the methane emissions (a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than CO2) are captured. Methane has a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide – only twelve years, compared to up to hundreds for CO2 – so cuts in methane will limit temperature increase faster than cuts to carbon dioxide.

Double gain

The captured methane is reused as biogas. The biogas can be used both as thermal oil replacement in the starch manufacturing process and also for generating clean energy for own use and sale to the grid. The emissions of the potent methane are avoided, and the energy sourced from the burning of fossil fuels is displaced.

Social sustainability

As all Gold Standard certified projects, this project is also socially sustainable. The project has significantly improved local air and water quality and the carbon revenue it generates provides jobs for locals, while also supporting social and educational activities. The clean wastewater is used to irrigate nearby fields and allows fish farming, enabling local communities to increase their income.

The SDGs and the numbers

The project contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals number 6,7,8 and 13.

97,000 tonnes of CO2 are mitigated annually, on average. Based on that the world average CO2 emissions per person was 4.9 tonnes (2019), this corresponds to reducing the CO2 emissions from nearly 20,000 people each year.

Clean Electricity from the Indian Sun

India is the world’s fourth largest emitter of carbon dioxide. With its rapid population growth, energy demands continue to increase. This is why GoClimate has chosen to support a large-scale solar plant – the Gold Standard certified Greenko Renewable Energy Project, in Madhya Pradesh in central India.

India is heavily dependent on fossil fuels where coal is the largest source of energy. It stands for 70% of the country’s energy. For the climate, a shift towards more renewable energy is crucial.

The solar plant in numbers

With its annual average production of 328,000 MWh, the Greenko project has the capacity to supply nearly 400,000 people in India with clean energy every year. The solar plant could in other words generate enough electricity to cater for a middle sized city.

Each year, 308,000 tonnes CO2e on average are mitigated. In 2020 (a year incused by the pandemic) the CO2 emissions per capita in the world were 4.62 tonnes. This means that the climate benefits from the solar plant are equal to avoiding the emissions caused by nearly 70,000 people.

How the location of the solar plant is chosen

This large scale solar plant generates green electricity that goes directly to the Indian grid. The Gold Standard certificate is a hallmark and an insurance that the location for the solar panels is carefully chosen. They are often installed in desert-like environments where there is a lot of radiation from the sun and little vegetation, where the panels do not negatively affect the local ecosystem. No forests shall be cut down to make space for a solar plant, neither shall arable land be used.

New jobs in the local community

When a project of this scale is to be built in a small village, it is fundamental that they develop a good relationship with the local community. All Gold Standard certified projects have a grievance mechanism which enables community members to register and voice concerns.

On top of the project’s climate benefits, this project contributes towards the local economy through the creation of 12 jobs and has conducted 6 trainings to educate staff.

Efficient Cookstoves in Central China

– less wood and better health

GoClimate is happy to have contributed to reducing another 8,000 tonnes of tonnes of CO2e emissions together with its members. This has been done through supporting the Gold Standard WWF Meigu High Efficient Cook Stove Project, for the third time. The project is located in the Shaanxi Province in the Central China mountains. It contributes to decreasing deforestation and protecting a giant panda habitat. In addition, the local community benefits from improvement in health and time savings. 

How is it done?

The project is based on a process of reconstructing inefficient built-in stoves for cooking and heating into being 70% more efficient. As the thermal efficiency is improved, the new cookstoves use substantially less woodfuel. Another benefit is the chimney that filters out toxic smoke.

The project operates in the Ningshan County towns of Huangguan, Xingchang and Simudi. Theses towns are near Huangguanshan Nature Reserve in Ningshan County in the Shaanxi Province. Due to the inconvenient traffic and the weak power supply system and high electricity price, there is no other power solution to replace the wood consumption. Making the use more efficient is of utmost importance.

For the planet

Not only is the climate helped by the 1,000 tonnes CO2e mitigated as less wood needs to be collected and burnt, but the deforestation pressures on the local giant panda habitat are eased. For decades, the deep mountain communities of Shaanxi’s Ningshan County in Central China have collected their woodfuel from the nearby Huangguanshan Nature Reserve. To lessen deforestation is important. Forests help keep our climate stable and regulate our water supply, in addition to providing home to many species. The crucial giant panda habitat is currently threatened and  violated, harming the rare pandas and other wildlife. Despite reports on the giant panda population slowly increasing, it remains one of the rarest, most vulnerable bears in the world. Habitat preservation is therefor key. Along with the climate crisis, the loss of biodiversity is one of the current and most severe threats to the planet. 

Gains for the local community

Every year, indoor air pollution causes many deaths. Women and children being the ones most involved or exposed to this environment are worst affected. The project has the potential to make everyday life a little bit safer for the local community through decreased indoor toxic smoke.

Furthermore, time is freed up for local residents to focus on more productive tasks, like working for income. The chopping and collecting of woodfuel is done faster, when less is needed. 

Geothermal energy on Sumatra, Indonesia

Ulubelu Unit 3-4 geothermal power plant, located on Indonesian island Sumatra, generates clean electricity going straight into the grid.

This project – apart from producing clean electricity and thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions – also contributes to Indonesia’s sustainable development. Indonesia needs to become less independent on fossil fuels, both when it comes to energy consumption and to export. It gives local employment opportunities and boosts the economy.

The great potential of geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is a type of renewable energy sourced from the Earth’s core, by using the heat stored in rocks and fluids. The difference between the temperature in the core and on the surface of the Earth drives a continuous conduction of thermal energy towards the surface, creating a source of renewable energy that is harmless to the planet

Geothermal energy is a very good way to complement other renewable energies, like wind and solar, because it offers a constant supply that is not dependent on the weather. It is therefore considered a baseload, or readily dispatchable power.Energy can be sourced at all hours and under almost any weather conditions, it is reliable, efficient, and cost efficient on a long term basis.

This kind of energy source  holds a lot of potential but remains relatively undeveloped. This is due to both the high initial cost of geothermal exploration and also official Indonesian legislation, which until 2014 classed geothermal exploration as a mining activity prohibited from forest and conservation areas. In fact, about three quarters of the total final energy consumption in Indonesia in 2018 came from non-renewable sources. In addition, coal is Indonesia’s biggest export product, and there is a clear need for Indonesia to reduce the risks of relying on fossil fuel exports. Carbon sales is an important source of revenue, making projects such as Ulubelu Unit 3-4 fiscally viable, one of the reasons why we at GoClimate are so excited to be supporting this project!

The power plant

The Ulubelu Unit 3-4 geothermal power plant is located at the southern tip of Sumatra, in the Lampung province. Indonesia is home to roughly 40% of global geothermal resources. In South Sumatra, the potential of geothermal energy reaches up to 2,095 megawatts, equivalent to 10% of the country’s total geothermal energy.

The power plant has been developed by the company PGE. The capacity of Ulubelu Unit 3-4 is 2 x 55 MW. On average over 860 GWh of clean, renewable electricity is generated annually for Indonesia’s Sumatra Interconnected Grid.

So how is the heat from the centre of the earth turned into electricity? The way it works is that steam collected from the geothermal field is sent to the power plant. It gets separated from condensate and fed into steam turbine generator systems with a net capacity of 2 x 55 MW. Next, the condensate is collected and returned to the geothermal field to maintain groundwater supply. Electricity produced in this process is sold to state-owned electricity company, Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), for distribution to the grid.

The benefits of this climate project

As well as producing clean electricity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Ulubelu Unit 3-4 geothermal power plant contributes to Indonesia’s sustainable development. The geothermal power plant diversifies Indonesia’s sources of electricity generation, helping to facilitate its low-carbon energy transition. By improving the operation of the existing geothermal field, the project increases community development, while local investment creates local employment opportunities and boosts the economy. 

Some of the added values for the local community include the building of roads, in areas where the infrastructure was previously poor, and other community development projects, such as water supply, mosque improvements, and school upgrading.

Climate Impact and Safe Drinking Water with Nazava Water Filters

Together with our amazing members, GoClimate have now offset another 9087 ton CO2eq in the Gold Standard certified project Nazava Water Filters.

According to the World Economic Forum, lack of access to safe drinking water is one of the biggest threats to humanity today. The Nazava project is a social enterprise that sells affordable ceramic water filters to low-income households in Indonesia (where the lack of clean water is a wide-spread problem) enabling access to safe drinking water. The project also leads to reduced CO2 emissions as well as a number of other benefits, both on a global and a local level.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this!

Difficulties for low-income households to get water

The positive impact safe drinking water has on public health is pretty obvious. It prevents disease and even death. The conventional methods for obtaining drinking water involve fetching, transporting and storing water and then boiling it to make it safe enough to drink. The fact that the water often needs to be transported a long way and to then be stored for a long period of time, means that the risk of it being contaminated is large, even if the water was clean at the point of fetching. Boiling is an energy intensive and time-consuming purification method, often involving burning wood or charcoal. In cases where fetching drinking water is not an option, low-income households are left to spend money on buying water, leading to an unsustainable financial situation.

The Nazava Water Filter project saves CO2 

The Nazava Water Filter project leads to a reduction in GHG emissions, as burning wood or fossil fuel for cleaning water is omitted. The project activity has the potential to give an annual average CO2 emission reduction of up to 372,774 t CO2e over a 10 year period. This yearly reduction in energy is comparable to one year’s CO2 emissions from 5 000 Swedish households.

The Filter

The technology used for this specific filter is a ceramic type that produces water of safe drinking water quality. The Nazava Water Filters remove 99.9% of bacteria as tested by WHO – a result honoring the name Nazava, which is arabic for “cleanliness”. The filters are easy to use and sold at an affordable price, making them accessible for the low-income households affected.  The filters can be used thousands of times before they need to be replaced, making this technique a highly sustainable one.

Other important benefits

The positive impact of access to safe drinking water and the great climate impact is probably pretty clear by now, but the Nazava project keeps on giving with it’s many other social and economic benefits!

Not having to carry water a long way reduces the risk of wear and tear. Not having to boil water reduces the indoor air pollution from burning wood, which is a health risk important to avoid.

The project also creates value for the local community in important ways. Buying and using the filters, low-income households saves the cost for buying wood or water, and as well as saves the labour spent on fetching and preparing the water. User surveys show that this is welcomed as a considerable advantage and the project has been well received. 

The selling and distribution is carried out by a network of informal resellers or micro-entrepreneurs, many of which are women, working under the brand name Nazava Water Filters. 

The Nazava project has a positive impact on many of the UN Sustainability Goals – numbers 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 13, and 15 (No poverty, Good Health and Wellbeing, Gender equality, Good Health and sanitation, Decent work and economic growth, Climate action and Life on land).