Tracking of energy
For EKOenergy it is important that the origin of clean energy can be tracked in a reliable way. This is in order to ensure that:
- Energy has been produced in accordance with our sustainability criteria.
- Renewable attributes aren’t subject to double counting.
Companies are placing increasing importance on sourcing green energy. Because of this, tracking systems are being developed for different types of renewable energy. EKOenergy is closely following developments in the tracking of renewable electricity, renewable gas, and renewable heat.
Hereafter you find more information, as well as an overview of tracking systems that are accepted to prove the origin of EKOenergy-labelled energy.
Tracking of electricity
Electricity cannot be tracked along the electricity grid. All the electricity produced, whether from clean energy or fossil fuel sources, is mixed when it is added to the grid. “Book and claim” systems (such as Guarantees of Origin and I-RECs) were developed to make it possible for consumers to claim a specific amount and type of renewable electricity as theirs. These are databases in which producers can register or “book” how much, when and how they have produced electricity. Consumers can “claim” green electricity based on this information. Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs) are issued as proof of a renewable electricity purchase. Buying green power is not possible without proving its origin with these certificates.
The main objectives of tracking systems are to keep the consumer informed and to avoid double counting. Avoiding double counting is important to ensure that no other consumer claims to use the same green electricity as another.
Certificates generated from renewable resources have to be used (i.e. cancelled or redeemed) in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scope 2 Guidance: “All contractual instruments used in the market-based method for Scope 2 accounting shall be issued and redeemed as close as possible to the period of energy consumption to which the instrument is applied” and “shall be sourced from the same market in which the reporting entity’s electricity-consuming operations are located.” (p.60). When you use EKOenergy-ecolabelled electricity, these criteria are fulfilled.
Guarantees of Origin
In Europe, tracking certificates are called Guarantees of Origin (GO or GoO). National GO registries are run by state-appointed entities such as regulators or grid operators. The EKOenergy ecolabel works with GOs in the EU for electricity tracking.
The legal basis for the system is outlined in article 15 of the document: Directive 2009/28/EC of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources. From 2021 onwards, this directive will be replaced with article 19 of the Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources.
In the USA and Canada, electricity tracking certificates are called Renewable Electricity Certificates (RECs). REC ownership is necessary to claim the use of renewable electricity. RECs are used both in the voluntary and compliance markets. Read more in the Center for Resource Solutions’ paper The Legal Basis for Renewable Energy Certificates (PDF).
For the use of the EKOenergy label in the US and Canada, RECs are necessary.
The International REC Standard is a nonprofit organization that works to provide robust attribute tracking systems (EAC systems) around the world.
As an energy ecolabel, EKOenergy works with I-RECs to bring a standard tracking system to countries where one has not been set up by the local government, such as in Turkey, China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, and South Africa. A list of countries with I-REC registries can be found on the I-REC website.
EKOenergy accepts I-REC certificates for the tracking of EKOenergy-ecolabelled electricity if:
- The I-RECs are used within 12 months after the production.
- The same production for the I-REC has not been used to generate a carbon offset credit.
National tracking certificates for electricity
EKOenergy is open to working with other tracking systems, as long as they fulfil our criteria in which double counting is avoided and information is transparent. Different certificate schemes can complement each other but this can present a risk of double counting.
Specific cases will be evaluated based on the country of electricity consumption. Feel free to contact the EKOenergy Secretariat if you have questions.
Japan: Currently CDP accepts J-Credits, Green Power Certificates and Non-Fossil Value Credits (NFC). It is expected that the NFC will become the main tracking system in Japan. Along with the RE100 and CDP, EKOenergy is also closely following the developments in Japan and currently accepts all 3 schemes available.
Taiwan: Common practice favours I-RECs in Taiwan. EKOenergy also accepts Taiwanese RECs (T-RECs).
Australia: Generation and sales of renewable electricity in Australia are done through Australian RECs. These include small-scale technology certificates (STCs) and large-scale generation certificates (LGCs). Australian RECs are accepted for tracking EKOenergy-ecolabelled electricity in Australia.
Tracking for on-site production, PPAs and electricity contracts
Aside from green energy contracts: on-site production, PPAs (power purchase agreements) and unbundled certificate purchases are other ways in which to source renewable electricity. Regardless of the method, the EKOenergy ecolabel makes sure that double counting is avoided. This means when the produced electricity comes through the grid, consumers can only claim that they use renewable electricity:
- If the EACs have been issued for that production.
- If these have been cancelled in the consumer’s name.
In the case of on-site production, usually no tracking certificates will be issued since the electricity is directly delivered to a specific consumer, without passing the grid. However, if EACs are issued for such locally consumed electricity, these should be cancelled/redeemed on behalf of the local consumer in order to avoid any risks of double counting. See more about EKOenergy from on-site installations.
To learn more about different ways to source renewable electricity, watch the below webinar “Renewable corporate sourcing: a crash course”, made by SolarPower Europe and RE-Source (from 3:43 to 15:45).
Import and export of certificates
EKOenergy only allows tracking certificates to be used within the same electricity market where the electricity has been produced. The EKOenergy criteria specify that the consumer always has to be informed about the country (or region) of origin of the electricity they purchase.
EKOenergy-labelled energy follows the Greenhouse Gas Protocol standard as well as the practices that CDP supports. In cases where tracking certificates aren’t available in certain countries, we believe that showing flexibility helps to give the right signals to the market and thus contributes to the development of reliable tracking.
Tracking of renewable gas
EKOenergy is looking to work with reliable and independent tracking systems for gas that are open to all interested market players and exclude double counting.
Preferably there will be only one accepted tracking system per country or only one accepted tracking system per type of gas, i.e. biogas, power-to-gas, etc. Feel free to get in touch with us for further information.
If there is no tracking system in a given country, the EKOenergy Board will evaluate the tracking solution suggested by the seller. The approval of such a system is temporary. Private tracking systems are automatically replaced by official systems as soon as these exist.
EKOenergy currently accepts:
- All existing biomethane registers in the EU (EU Guarantees of Origin for Renewable Gas)
- UK Green Gas Certification Scheme
- CertifHy’s certification scheme for hydrogen.
For more information regarding the tracking of renewable gas, see Chapter 5 of EKOenergy’s criteria for renewable gas.