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Buyers wanted for CESL carbon credits

New Delhi: State-owned Convergence Energy Services Ltd (CESL) has accrued around 1.4 million tonnes of carbon credits under the Gram Ujala scheme in 2022-23.

That’s good for its carbon footprint—just as soon as it finds a buyer.

Green energy-focussed CESL is yet to sell the carbon credits, although the sale could even finance the government subsidy provided under the scheme.

To push matters along, it has launched an expression of interest, but is yet to find buyers. Under the Gram Ujala scheme, the company sells LED bulbs to rural households at a subsidized price. The plan is to provide viability gap funding through the sale of carbon credits.

“Nearly 1.4 million tonnes of credits were accrued by February 2023. This was the first accrual of credits under the scheme. However, their sale has not taken place so far. It’s tough to find a buyer currently and the value of carbon credits is quite low currently,” said a person aware of the development.

Further, a similar amount of carbon credits is set to accrue this year under the annual certification scheme to add to the pile of credits.

Carbon credit prices were $1.9 per tonne in October against an average of $9.55 per tonne in 2022.

“Initially CESL required a price of $3.5 per tonne to make up for the subsidized price of bulbs, taking the value of the accrued credits to around $5 million. However the process did not move ahead then,” said another person.

CESL, a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Efficiency Services Ltd, is implementing Gram Ujala. The projects under the scheme have been registered with VERRA, which sets global standards for climate action and sustainable development.

In its EoI, CESL said that it has generated verified carbon units (VCU) under its first verification cycle.

“Now that these have accrued to CESL, the organization intends to monetise 0.73 million VCUs through open-international competitive bidding,” it said. The 0.73 million VCUs on offer are equal to 0.73 million tonnes of carbon credits.

Projects under the the Gram Ujala scheme for five states—Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka—are registered with VERRA, a non-profit. Three projects in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have completed the first cycle of monitoring and carbon units for the remaining projects are in advanced stages of issuance. Around 10 million VCUs are expected to be generated over the project life of 10 years.

Typically, companies that have a high carbon footprint would snap up the credits.

“Given that the carbon market is not yet mature in the country, there are issues in finding buyers. However, with the setting up of a carbon market as planned by the government, trading in carbon credits should pick pace,” said a person on condition of anonymity. Queries sent to CESL remained unanswered.

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Updated: 14 Nov 2023, 11:11 PM IST

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