Renewability and sustainability
EKOenergy is renewable electricity. Research shows evidence that all electricity can be renewable by 2040-2050, if we go for it now. You can help by saving electricity and by switching to renewable electricity. By choosing renewable electricity, we give our suppliers (electricity sellers), producers and politicians a clear signal: this is what we want them to invest in.
Yet at the same time, we fully realize that the production of renewable electricity also has impacts on the environment. EKOenergy wants to be a tool to avoid and reduce these impacts. We found 3 different ways to take into account ecosystem services, habitats and the biodiversity of species:
- We exclude some highly controversial types of renewables from our system. This is in particular the case for some kinds of biomass. This decision is not only based on biodiversity concerns, but also takes into account the climate impact and social aspects. There are clear indications that the carbon impact of some types of biomass is worse than that of fossil fuel. Biomasses which grow on food production areas can have a world wide impact on the food price.
- We started an Environmental Fund: for each MWh of hydropower sold, minimum 10 eurocents will go to an Environmental Fund. The money of that Fund will be used to restore aquatic ecosystems.
- Some types of production are only acceptable if the EKOenergy board approves them after consultation of the local environmental NGOs. This is e.g. the case for wind turbines in protected areas and all hydro power.
What type of power plants do we consider sustainable?
- Wind, solar, geothermal and marine installations are allowed for EKOenergy if they are not located in protected areas. Exceptions are only possible if agreed by EKOenergy’s board, based on environmental reports and on the input of local environmental organisatons.
- Hydropower can only be sold as EKOenergy if it comes from installations which have been approved by EKOenergy’s Board. See the text ‘EKOenergy and hydropower – Which hydropower can be sold as EKOenergy?’ (pdf, 5 pages, April 2014) for more information about the approval procedure. An approval is valid for 5 years, and can be withdrawn if the installation does not fulfill all legal requirements or if it doesn’t guarantee a minimum ecological flow of 5% of the annual mean flow.
- Biomass is only accepted if the efficiency of the co-generation process is minimum 75%. It means that the heat produced in the process is also put to use. We also set criteria for the biomass itself. We focus on forestry products (with exclusion of roots, stumps and large logs) and on organic waste.
For the full and official text of EKOenergy’s sustainability criteria, see chapter 7 & 8 of the text ‘EKOenergy: Network and label’.