Reliable tracking and avoidance of double-counting
EKOenergy’s criteria cover several vital aspects, including the assurance of reliable tracking and the prevention of double counting. For a megawatt-hour to bear our label, it must be verifiable as generated in an installation meeting our quality standards and assigned to a single specific consumer.
To ensure this verifiability, our label mandates the use of reliable tracking instruments, particularly Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs) such as Guarantees of Origin in Europe or certificates issued and redeemed in line with the I-REC (International Renewable Energy Certificate) standard.
When formulating and implementing EKOenergy’s tracking requirements, we actively engage with numerous experts and established organisations, ensuring a collaborative approach. One of these organisations is the RECS Energy Certificate Association. This association is dedicated to accelerating the transition to 100% renewable energy systems, supporting the development of new energy attribute certificate markets and strengthening existing ones.
Latest news from the EAC sphere
After a decade of fruitful cooperation with RECS’s experts, EKOenergy became an official member of the RECS Energy Certificate Association in 2022. We interviewed Secretary-General Adam White to gain insights into his reflection on the past year and the organisation’s plans for the near future.
Hi Adam, it has been quite a busy year for the RECS Energy Certificate Association. Could you share with us the main activities and challenges you’ve encountered?
Indeed, it has been a busy, enjoyable and successful year. We welcomed over 30 new members, setting a record for our association. Additionally, our annual conference saw remarkable growth, with over 550 attendees. This was such a success that we had to relocate to a larger venue for our 2024 event (details at www.recmarket.eu). On the policy front, we have also been working on several key initiatives. Firstly, we’ve set out our position on the review of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP) and engaged in the WRI’s consultation process.
Secondly, we are actively engaged with the standardisation processes on energy attribute certificates being run by the ISO and CEN secretariats.
Thirdly, we’ve organised various working groups to focus on:
- Developing and publishing RECS’ position on what should be included in the next EU renewable energy directive;
- developing a standard RECS contract for biomethane certificates;
- how to modernise EAC systems; and
- developing and coordinating RECS’ response to the GHGP review.
Finally, in collaboration with the I-REC Standard Foundation, we published a standard contract for trading I-RECS. Information on all our work can be found at www.recs.org.
We assume many of your members are particularly interested in the review of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol standards. How well are you able to follow the discussions, and how do you see things develop?
Yes, as I mentioned, we have actively engaged in this process by developing RECS’ position (RECS’ position on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Review – RECS Energy Certificate Association) and advocating it towards the WRI and WBCSD secretariats who are running the process. We’re in regular contact with the WRI/WBCSD staff; they spoke at the REC Market Meeting this year and may do so again next year. We are currently awaiting their response regarding the next steps in the process. I believe that there is significant support for market-based mechanisms as the basis for calculating and reporting corporate scope 2 emissions, and I am confident that we can successfully make the case for using EACs during this process. We’re very appreciative of the engagement of all RECS Members and Stakeholders on this important topic.
In recent times, we’ve witnessed a growing number of individuals and organisations entering the renewable energy sphere. While many have reaped the benefits of the standardisation that RECS promotes, there are also those who introduce new approaches, such as 24/7 and emissionality, positioning them as alternatives to traditional energy tracking methods. With this in mind, does this proliferation of approaches carry the risk of double counting, and could it potentially undermine the extensive efforts organisations like RECS have put in over the past two decades?
RECS maintains a clear stance on this matter. We firmly believe that standard EAC systems and markets must remain the foundation of energy attribute tracking. These systems have stood the test of time and have proven their value to energy generators, which, in turn, can be reinvested into further renewable energy production. If these systems can be further developed for the better, then RECS is, of course, open to that. However, any such changes should be managed carefully to prevent explicit or implicit undermining of standard attribute tracking schemes.
While RECS has traditionally centred its focus on electricity, it’s evident that electricity continues to be the dominant area of attention. However, it’s essential to consider developments in other sectors, such as gas and heat. Is RECS also actively monitoring these changes?
Indeed, RECS is not limited to tracking electricity alone. We are actively engaged in monitoring the attributes of various energy carriers beyond electricity. RECS’ priority policy demand is centred on achieving full consumption disclosure. This means that for every megawatt-hour of energy consumed, consumers are required to either cancel an energy attribute certificate themselves or have it cancelled on their behalf. This approach offers at least three significant advantages:
- First, It levels the playing field for all energy consumers, as currently, only those using renewables have to purchase and cancel EACs to verify their consumption.
- Second, the requirement to cancel EACs for every MWh consumed compels consumers to make an informed choice about the energy they are paying for.
- Third, it removes the need for a residual mix, as both energy production and consumption will have to be certified, ushering in transparency and clear information throughout energy markets.
RECS operates as a member-based organisation, and EKOenergy ecolabel is a member, too, by the way. We’re pleased to see a growing number of members joining each month. What are the primary motivations for organizations and companies to become part of RECS?
Yes! We’re thrilled to have EKOenergy as a member and appreciate their significant role in supporting the educational stream of the REC Market Meeting each year. As I mentioned, this year has seen us welcome over thirty new members, marking a record year for our association. We believe several factors contribute to this growth. First, despite the growing market, we have kept our membership fees at reasonable levels, ensuring accessibility for all organisations. Second, we’ve made more of our work accessible exclusively to our members through a membership ’pay-wall,’ granting them access to our standard contracts, policy papers, and working groups. Third, the energy attribute certificate market, as a whole, is expanding and gaining value. This growth has prompted both existing companies and new entrants to engage more with EACs, leading to an increasing number of companies that can benefit from RECS membership. Finally, we also offer significant discounts on our events for our members, particularly the annual REC Market Meeting.
Thank you for your contributions, Adam. We look forward to furthering our fruitful cooperation in 2024.