Wastewater: MRV Proposal Based on the Lessons from Waste-to-energy Projects in Thailand (Ch 14)

Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) for low carbon development: Learning from experience in Asia (Kazuhisa Koakutsu, Kenta Usui, Aya Watarai, Yusuke Takagi (edt.))
IGES Policy Report No. 2012-03
Policy Report

Key Messages
• The wastewater sector—particularly wastewater-biogas-energy (WBE) system—presents an opportunity to reduce GHG emissions and tap into renewable energy. In Thailand, several WBE projects have been introduced through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as well as by “unilateral” investments from the private sector in order to treat industrial wastewater, although CDM and unilateral investments have different goals.
• The primary objective of CDM WBE projects is to demonstrate GHG emission reduction (ER) through biogas (i.e., methane) capture and acquire certified emission reduction credits (CERs), while unilateral investment projects are mainly intended to harness renewable energy by burning the captured biogas. Both types of WBE system have the potential to procure positive outcomes such as minimising effluent pollution loads, controlling odour and reducing volumes of sludge.
• To demonstrate ER, MRV is integrated into CDM planning process.. However, carrying out MRV in CDM projects in Thailand is difficult due to the lengthy, inflexible nature of the process, lack of clarity regarding monitoring requirements and accuracy, as well as high cost of monitoring instruments and transactions. The chief impediments for unilateral investment projects in seeking CDM registration are cost and time.
• A simplified and flexible MRV should thus be developed as a timely intervention to encourage existing and future WBE projects and other sustainable wastewater management practices to undertake MRV and demonstrate their efficacy not only in terms of GHG ER but also other associated environmental and socio-economic benefits.
• Therefore, this paper proposes an integrated planning procedure for MRV, consisting of GHG ER, pollution control and resource recovery components, which as a whole would enable developing countries to identify potential actions and formulate supporting policies in favor of mitigation actions at different scales. MRV would thus act as an integrated tool for facilitating low carbon and sustainable wastewater management.