My Emissions Exchange is a new market place that enables you to sell reductions you make in energy use as credits to people and organizations that are looking to offset their carbon footprint. The service works by tracking your energy bills and calculating any reduction in energy use that you manage to make. Savings that you do make can then be sold by My Emissions Exchange on your behalf or you also have the option of donating them to an organization of your choice.
The first thing to do when you sign up to the service is to set your baseline usage over the past 12 months. You enter your energy data manually on the site but once you do this you must ‘lock it in’, after which it can only be changed by MyEex staff. You will need to make copies of your energy bills and send them in to be verified. The process isn’t entirely fluid, but the verification of carbon credits is extremely important. False claims of carbon savings, e.g. when people tried to get paid for energy savings that would have happened anyway. This is the concept of additionality and is a challenge for all sellers of legitimate carbon credits.
Its also important that 12 months of data is used to create the baseline so that corrections can be made for seasonal variations. In other words, if you live in a cold climate you can’t claim you have reduced your energy in the summer just because you are using less heating than during the winter. In order to actually claim that an energy saving has been made, you need to demonstrate that your usage is lower in comparison to the same month from the previous year.
Much like the service EarthAid we recently reviewed, the next step is to go about reducing your energy usage. The site provides some tips and resources to enable you to do this. There is enough information to cover all the important basics which are where the most important savings can occur. They are also categorized and contain estimates of the amount of energy/monetary savings you can expect from them, which can help you prioritize your actions.
If you manage to achieve savings over the comparable month from the previous year, then comes the payoff. Once MyEEx verifies your savings they will certify and broker the trade. And how much can users stand to gain? Tami and Randy Wilson of Harrisburg, Pa received $17.50 for the metric ton of carbon dioxide that they saved, which would seem to compare reasonably favorably to market estimates. A recent study from the Environmental Protection Agency suggested prices between $13 and $26 indicating there should be demand for carbon credits available on the MyEEx marketplace. Of course, users also stand to benefit from reduced energy bills.
My Emissions Exchange is a for profit company and currently take 20% commission on trades. Project manager Paul Herrgesell believes the economic incentive is an important one, saying that MyEEx
“is a system that incentivizes you to save energy on a personal level and aligns with your economic interests”
Ensuring that energy savings are accurate and legitimate is a challenge that MyEEx will have to face. Verifying actual energy bills seems like a reasonable way to do this, but is still potentially vulnerable to some types of fraud. However, I don’t consider this to be in anyway insurmountable. There are many industries which have to cope with an inability to extensively audit at such a granular level. Instead, researching an appropriate quantifier is all that required. For example, if you can verify that 1 credit in 100 is fraudulent, then the market price for credits on the MyEEx exchange would just be 99% of the price on the worldwide carbon market.
Challenges aside, My Emissions Exchange is a very exciting prospect with the potential to be an industry disruptor. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the service develops and how the market at large reacts to what this company are doing.