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Tracking and Guarantees of Origin

Tracking of electricity

Electricity cannot be tracked along the electricity grid. This means: nobody can have the guarantee that he or she really gets power (‘electrons’) from the company or the production plant that he prefers. However, it is possible to set up an accountancy system, recording which company has put how much power on the grid, and to specify in that register how this electricity has been produced. It is also fairly easy to add an extra column to that register, indicating for whom that power been put on the grid. This allows consumers to claim that this power has been put on the net ‘on behalf of them’.

Guarantees of Origin

At the end of the 1990s, ecolabels systems such as Bra Miljöval and Norppaenergia were amongst the first to experiment with such ‘book and claim systems’. As they wanted to promote the electricity of particular power plants, they had to introduce a way to track the electricity of these power plants. The first european-wide system was the RECS system: Renewable Electricity Certificate System, a voluntary system developed by the electricity sector.

These voluntary tracking systems have now been taken over by the official Guarantee of Origin system, which was first introduced by article 5 of Directive 2001/77/EC of 27 September 2001 on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in the internal electricity market. The system has been further elaborated by art. 15 of Directive 2009/28/EC of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources.

The European directive says that all EU countries need to set up an official registry, able to issue a ‘proof of production’ for each produced MWh of renewable energy. This proof is the Guarantee of Origin. Nobody can sell green electricity to an end consumer if he doesn’t have such a guarantee of origin, and upon sale of the green electricity, the Guarantee of Origin has to be cancelled (removed from the system). Consumer information and avoidance of double counting is the main objective of this system.

EKOenergy uses the European Guarantee of Origin system. At the same time, EKOenergy wants to play a role in pushing all countries to adopt the same strict and clear rules for their Guarantee of Origin system. For countries outside the EU, EKOenergy can accept other existing tracking systems (‘book and claim systems’) if they fulfil strict criteria.

The residual mix

residual-mixIf some electricity consumers pay for the right to claim the green value of electricity, it has to be sure that nobody else can claim the same green value. That’s where the ‘residual mix’ comes in: the residual mix is the ‘mix of electricity’ (mix of fossil, nuclear and renewable electricity) which is left for all consumers who don’t have a contract promising them a specific electricity product. In other words, it is the grid mix minus the tracked and claimed electricity products. If more consumers buy green electricity, the residual mix becomes less green.

The authorities are increasingly aware that the calculation of a residual mix is important to avoid double counting as well as to make sure that consumers get correct information. A number of countries and stakeholders have now set up a joint structure to calculate these residual mixes, and more and more countries are introducing legislation to determine which residual mix figures should be used.

Electricity suppliers using untracked electricity have to use residual mix figures to calculate their ‘supplier mix’. (This ‘supplier mix’ is an essential element of the disclosure obligation of article 3(9) of Directive 2009/72/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity.)

For more information about the residual mix: see the RE-DISS project

Import – export

EKOenergy can originate from an other country than the country of consumption (either via import, or via cancellation of Guarantees of Origin in an other country). Chapter 10.2 and 10.3 of the text ‘EKOenergy – Network and label’ set criteria for these cases.

For the information of suppliers, we give hereafter an overview of what these criteria mean in practice.

Note that import export is not the rule, rather the exception. Most of the EKOenergy sales are domestic. The EKOenergy criteria also specify that the consumer always has to be informed about the country of origin of the purchased electricity.

Origin Where can it be consumed? How
Countries with tracking systems linked to AIB hub: AT, BE, CH, CZ, DE, DE, FR, FI, IS, IT, LU, NL, NO, SE, SL Countries with tracking systems linked to AIB hub: AT, BE, CH, CZ, DE, DE, FR, FI, IS, IT, LU, NL, NO, SE, SL Transfer according to EECS rules.
Countries with tracking systems linked to AIB hub: AT, BE, CH, CZ, DE, DE, FR, FI, IS, IT, LU, NL, NO, SE, SL All other countries Possible via ex-domain cancellation
EU countries not mentioned above Only consumption in own country. Until the EKOenergy Board decides otherwise. This decision will be communicated via this webpage. Cancellation of Guarantees of Origin in country of origin.
Turkey Only consumption in own country. Cancellation of I-REC
All other countries (i.e. not EEA, not CH, not Turkey) Not yet acceptable as EKOenergy. Until the EKOenergy Board decides otherwise based on the criteria listed in Chapter 10.1 of the text ‘EKOenergy – Network and Label’


EKOenergy Criteria

For more information about EKOenergy’s tracking criteria, see Chapter 10 of the text ‘EKOenergy: Network and label’.