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Renewable Energy Certificates

It is possible to use renewable energy certificates in various forms to help you address your scope one and scope two emissions. Plannet Zero can help you understand your choices and secure a solution.

Renewable energy certificates are also referred to as ‘Energy Attribute Certificates’ (EACs). EACs cover several different schemes across the globe for identifying and certifying renewable electricity and green gas. The aim of each scheme is to incorporate more green energy and to ensure each unit of power and gas is trackable and identifiable, keeping systems credible.

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Purchase EACs to achieve your climate and renewable energy targets

Corporations across the globe are increasingly demonstrating leadership in tackling climate change and looking at ways to reduce the impact of their operations. For companies looking to make a difference, sourcing renewable energy has become a key focus.

Every company’s experience of procuring renewables is different. Whether you are just starting or already on your way to corporate leadership, by employing the resources of Plannet Zero, your company will unlock potential cost-savings and develop a competitive advantage, while supporting the global energy transition.

You can reduce scope 1 (gas) and scope 2 (electricity) emissions by contracting renewable electricity for your own operations and that of your supply chain.

With global experience, a plethora of awards (Environmental Finance – Renewable Energy Certificates Europe, Best Advisory 2020) and deep localised knowledge of power markets, our team have advisory and solution implementation services to help companies across the globe achieve their renewable ambitions. 

To learn more about how we can help you achieve your renewable energy ambitions, contact Anil Akalin our Head of Renewable Energy. 

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How do Renewable Energy Certificates work?

Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs), in their various forms, are traded. When a company buys an EAC as documentation for the electricity delivered or consumed, the EACs are uploaded to the designated electronic certificate registry. A standardised instrument makes it easy to track ownership, verify claims and ensure that the specific EAC is only sold once to prevent double counting.

Without being able to track ownership, electricity can come from any source, including fossil fuel or nuclear energy.

In mainland Europe, the Guarantees of Origin (GO) system, reflects the EU-wide connected grid. Through a common energy market, rules and cross-border infrastructure, energy can be produced in one EU country and delivered to consumers in another. If you do not buy GOs for the electricity you consume, the electricity can come from any source in any EU country.

Impact

EACs are market-based instruments and an effective way to increase the market momentum for renewable energy. Buying EACs conveys to the market that you prefer to consume renewable energy and displays your commitment to changing energy behaviour.

The demand for renewable energy across the world, documented through various EACs (REGOs, GOs I-RECs and RECs) continues to grow year on year. The system gives power producers an extra income source, making it more appealing to build more renewable energy plants.

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What are renewable energy certificates used for?

Corporate stakeholders and consumers have increasing expectations about reporting the origin of the power consumed. They expect companies to adhere to international standards, including the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG-P). The updated GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance features Guarantees of Origin, REGOs, RECs and I-RECs as mainstream instruments for documenting and tracking electricity consumed from renewable sources.

The corporate sector is the main driver for renewable electricity, although households and organisations also contribute to the market growth. Increasingly, businesses see renewable energy as necessary for future competitiveness – to attract customers, employees and investors alike. Several sustainability initiatives support renewable ambitions, but RE100 is particularly noteworthy. RE100 is a global initiative of over 300 influential corporations committed to consume 100% renewable electricity. The members purchase a huge number of EACs for their operations worldwide.

How does this affect my scope 2 emissions?

You can use EACs to show that your scope 2 emissions are zero.

The GHG-P is the most widely used international accounting framework to understand, quantify and manage greenhouse gas emissions. The GHG-P is a multi-stakeholder partnership of businesses, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), governments and others convened by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

To easily and transparently report emissions and the origin of the electricity consumed, the World Resources Institute presented an updated Greenhouse Gas Protocol Accounting Guidance Scope 2 in January 2015.

Endorsement of EACs: GOs, RECs and I-RECs, REGOs

Within the updated Scope 2 guidance, GOs, REGOs, RECs and I-RECs are directly featured as mainstream instruments for documenting and tracking electricity consumed from renewable sources. The clarification companies will gain from the GHG-P Scope 2 Guidance has the potential to transform energy buying practices in the corporate world.

Recently, the highly-regarded Greenhouse Gas Protocol of the WRI and the WBCSD further endorsed EACs:

‘Guarantees of Origin reduce companies’ CO2 footprint, increase awareness of the origin of the electricity consumed and send a signal to the market that companies prefer electricity from renewable energy sources. Over time this documented demand for low carbon energy solutions will change energy behaviour.’

This will encourage businesses to measure, manage and report the emissions generated from their electricity consumption and increasingly switch to power from renewable sources.

Energy Attribute Certificates

Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs) are an established instrument that allows consumers to verify their renewable energy claims. An increase in the renewable energy generated and consumed is crucial to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. By 2030, global CO2 emissions need to be reduced by at least 45%, in comparison with 2010 levels. To achieve this, doubling the global share of renewable power is a key factor.

EACs are referred to differently across the globe. We deliver EACs globally, in countries with and without national or regional schemes. We are specialised in providing renewable energy solutions through traceability mechanisms. EACs document that the energy you consume comes from renewable sources.

EACs can be quickly deployed to help meet renewable energy targets, particularly in countries and regions where other renewable procurement solutions are challenging or unavailable.

EACs are recognised by major sustainability reporting initiatives.

EACs for electricity

EACs come in different forms. Those covering electricity are called: Guarantees of Origin (GOs) in Europe, Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origins (REGOs) in the UK, Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) in North America and International Renewable Energy Certificates (I-RECs) in a growing number of countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

Each electricity-related EAC represents proof that 1MWh of renewable power has been produced and added to the grid. EACs comply with the World Resources Institute’s GHG-P Scope 2 Guidance and are a recognised tool to document electricity consumption from renewable energy sources and to report reduced emissions.

In addition to addressing your scope two emissions, using EACs is an effective way to improve your company’s sustainability rating and contribution towards Science Based Targets and RE100 goals.

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Guarantees of Origin

The EU Renewable Energy Directive from 2009 states that Guarantees of Origin (GOs) prove to consumers that a given quantity of energy was produced from renewable energy sources. GOs are a purely voluntary instrument used by businesses, public institutions and households in Europe.

Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin

In the UK the EAC instrument is called a Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO). The REGO scheme provides transparency to consumers about the proportion of electricity that suppliers source from renewable generation. REGOs show the megawatt hour (MWh) of eligible renewable output created by generators of renewable electricity.

The purpose of the certificate is to prove to the final customer that a given share of energy was produced from renewable sources.

Renewable Energy Certificates

To document and report that the energy you consume in North America comes from renewable energy sources, you must buy Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). In the US, RECs are used both for compliance reporting as well as voluntary consumption purposes.

International REC Standard (I-RECs)

The International Renewable Energy Standard (I-REC Standard) is a newer global standard, introduced in a growing number of countries, where no market mechanism was previously in place. I-REC Standard builds on best practice from the North American REC market, Europe’s GO and the UK’s REGO systems and has strong stakeholder support. Currently I-RECs are issued in more than 30 countries.

Green Gas Certificates

Biomethane (green gas) is renewable gas created from biodegradable material that can be used in the same way as fossil natural gas. Green gas can be produced from a number of sources such as anaerobic digestion, landfill gas and synthetic gas (syngas) from the gasification of biomass. Biomethane is used as a direct substitute for natural gas in the national grids. A Green Gas Certificate is a recognised Energy Attribute Certificate (EAC) by GHG-P and CDP. Consumers can make 100% renewable gas claims and report reduced scope 1 emissions.  

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Why are EACs important?

EACs are a market-based instrument and an effective way to integrate renewable energy into a global sustainability strategy. Buying EACs demonstrates environmental leadership, displaying to the market that you prefer to consume renewable energy and shows your commitment to changing energy behaviour.

Regulation

Corporate stakeholders have increasing expectations about reporting the origin of the power consumed. They expect that companies report according to international standards. The updated Scope 2 Guidance features Guarantees of Origin, REC and I-REC as mainstream instruments for documenting and tracking electricity consumed from renewable sources.

Legislation – EU – Guarantees of Origin

As an example of legislation, the EU Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) came into force in June 2009 as part of the EU energy and climate change package. The Directive states that Guarantees of Origin (GOs) prove to the final customer that a given quantity of energy has been produced from renewable energy sources. GOs were established to create greater environmental awareness, provide customers with an opportunity to choose renewable energy and signal this choice to the market. They provide credible and verifiable documentation for a sustainability report or an environmental audit, and to help stimulate further renewable energy production.

In 2018 the EU approved a new Renewable Energy Directive (REDII), which included text strengthening the system of GOs over time towards 2030. REDII clearly states that electricity suppliers and consumers of power shall [read: ‘have to’] use GOs to document and report renewable electricity claims in Europe.