Mexico is a regional leader in addressing climate change; in 2012, it was the first developing country to adopt national legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also the first developing country to submit a Nationally Determined Contribution. As Mexico accelerates its economic growth, it will need to address its corresponding contribution to climate change through high-impact, readily deployable clean energy solutions.
Toward this end, USAID/Mexico supported an assessment of the energy and greenhouse gas emission benefits associated with pilot projects designed to reduce emissions in the country—including one featured here with an incredibly low payback period of only three years. The online CLEER Tool calculated clean energy benefits for these pilots, providing project designers, managers, and implementers with an easy way to estimate and track current and future energy benefits and emissions reductions from a wide range of clean energy activities.
The Mexico Low Emissions Development (MLED) Program
The first phase of the MLED program operated from 2011 to 2016. It supported Mexico’s General Law for Climate Change by helping to develop human and institutional capacity for greenhouse gas inventory development; improving data collection, analysis, and modeling of economic and environmental impacts of low emissions development; and assessing clean energy market potential. MLED identified potential high-impact, low-cost pilot interventions to accelerate clean energy deployment.
One of MLED’s pilot projects involved the installation of 58 square meters of solar thermal collectors at La Villa Pediatric Hospital in Mexico City. The solar thermal collectors saved 12,000 liters of diesel fuel in its first year and had a payback period of three years. MLED also supported a pilot project that installed four anaerobic digester systems at dairy and swine farms in Mexico. The digesters captured more than 67,000 cubic meters of biogas from manure waste, which was then used as a fuel source for cooking, electricity, and other applications.
Using CLEER to Estimate Benefits
The RALI team estimated the impacts of the solar hot water system and the anaerobic digesters by obtaining project information and using the CLEER Tool to calculate savings.
RALI estimates that in 2014, the solar hot water system at La Villa Pediatric Hospital produced approximately 423.3 gigajoules of energy and avoided 32 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) emissions. The pilot anaerobic digester systems produced about 600 gigajoules annually and resulted in 786 tCO2e of avoided emissions by offsetting the consumption of liquefied petroleum gas, wood, diesel, and grid electricity and by avoiding emissions from traditional animal waste management processes.
Overall, just these two MLED interventions avoided 818 tCO2e in 2014. Between 2014 and 2030, these interventions are expected to reduce emissions by a total of 8,309 tCO2e, equivalent to avoiding 20 million passenger vehicle miles. Because both the solar hot water and anaerobic digester systems are pilot initiatives, the successes of these interventions can spur future growth and opportunities for similar emission-reducing strategies in the future.
- The Resources to Advance LEDS Implementation (RALI) Project Fact Sheet provides information on project activities
- The CLEER Tool website includes all CLEER materials, including the online tool, user guides, and (if needed) Excel-based calculators.
- The CLEER Tool Training Webinar video guides new users through use of the tool.
- The CLEER Protocol includes all technology-specific methodologies for estimating greenhouse gas impacts.
- The CLEER Fact Sheet provides background on the CLEER tool and resources.
Any feedback or questions on the CLEER Tool can be sent to [email protected].
Derina Man is a Senior Managing Consultant at ICF, a global professional services firm that delivers consulting services and technology solutions in energy, climate change, and other areas. Derina provides technical and policy support related to low-emissions development strategies, greenhouse gas accounting and mitigation, and the phase-out of fluorinated gases. She is currently the project manager for the USAID Transparency and Long-Term Strategies project.
Kevin Kurkul is an Associate at ICF, a global professional services firm that delivers consulting services and technology solutions in energy, climate change, and other areas. Kevin leads outreach and training for the Clean Energy Emission Reduction (CLEER) Tool, which enables users to estimate, track, and report GHG reductions from clean energy. Kevin also works on developing new methodologies to estimate GHG reductions from clean energy, and on developing GHG inventories and reporting guidelines.
John Venezia is a Principal at ICF, a global professional services firm that delivers consulting services and technology solutions in energy, climate change, and other areas. John manages the development of the Clean Energy Emission Reduction (CLEER) Tool, which enables users to estimate, track, and report GHG reductions from clean energy. He has 18 years of experience in greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory development, designing GHG estimation and reporting guidelines, and analyzing the costs and reduction potential of GHG mitigation strategies. He is an internationally recognized expert in energy GHG emissions and in national GHG emission inventories, and serves on the UNFCCC's Roster of Experts.