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Tracking and Guarantees of Origin

Tracking of electricity

Electricity cannot be tracked along the electricity grid. This means consumers cannot have the guarantee that they really get power from a specific company or from a specific power plant. If you live next to a nuclear power plant, you will likely get the power produced by that power plant. Electricity cannot be contained, counted and separated like grains of rice: all the electricity produced from different sources is mixed in the same cable.

Politicians have judged that for consumer protection reasons, as well as for environmental reasons, it is useful to give people the opportunity to choose.

To make this possible, “book and claim” systems have been developed. These are databases in which producers can register or book how much they have produced, when they have produced it and how they have produced it. Electricity sellers and electricity consumers can use the same databases to “claim” that a specific type of electricity is theirs.

  See also our video about electricity tracking

Guarantees of Origin

In Europe, the tracking certificates are called Guarantees 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. This means nobody else in Europe can claim to use the same green electricity than you.

The national Guarantee of Origin registries are run by state appointed entities such as regulators or grid operators.

The legal base of the system is art. 15 of Directive 2009/28/EC of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources.

I-REC Certificates

For countries outside Europe (European Economic Area + Switzerland), EKOenergy can accept other existing tracking systems, if they fulfill strict criteria. For sales in Turkey and Asia, we accept I-REC certificates. The International REC Standard is a non-profit organization that works to provide robust attribute tracking systems (REC systems) around the world. See for more information.

We set the following additional rules for I-REC certificates:

  • The certificates have to be used/cancelled within 1 year after the production of the electricity. This is more or less in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scope 2 Guidance, which says on page 60 that “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”
  • EKOenergy only allows I-REC certificates for consumption within the same electricity market as where the electricity has been produced.

Import – export

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

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

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, DE, EE, ES, FR, FI, HR, IE, IS, IT, LU, NL, NO, SE, SL Countries with tracking systems linked to AIB hub: AT, BE, CH, DE, EE, ES, FR, FI, HR, IE, IS, IT, LU, NL, NO, SE, SL Transfer according to EECS rules of the AIB
Countries with tracking systems linked to AIB hub: AT, BE, CH, DE, EE, ES, FR, FI, HR, IE, IS, IT, LU, NL, NO, SE, SL Other countries “in the same area” 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.
All other countries Tracking certificates have to be used on the same ”market” where the physical production of the electricity took place. Cancellation of I-REC certificates


Official text

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