What is an Energy Attribute Certificate?
The production, trade/distribution and consumption of renewable energy can be electronically documented and tracked with Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs). With those certificates, companies can claim the environmental benefit of renewable energy production for their own electricity consumption. The EACs do not represent the electricity itself (they are usually unbundled from the production), they are contractual instruments to convey information about the produced electricity like the type of power plant (ie. hydropower plant, wind power plant, solar plant), the actual powerplant where the renewable electricity has been produced (ie. name of the plant, location) and the actual amount of electricity produced (unit is one megawatt hour MWh of renewable electricity).
What is the lifecycle of an Energy Attribute Certificate?
The lifecycle of an EACs is as follow:
- Production of renewable electricity by a qualified and registered power plant of an EACs system (i.e. EECS, I-REC, …)
- Issuing of an EACs (based on 1 MWh). The EACs contains usually information on the name/identification of the power plant, the location, the year of commissioning (YOC), the energy type and source, a unique identifier number for each EACs (based on 1 MWh) and the production time/period as well as information regarding support.
- Trade – each EACs can be electronically traded separately cross border from the physical flow by counterparts (producer, trader, utilities, companies, …) within the EACs system, in which they are issued.
- Redemption/Cancellation – In order to claim the renewable energy produced by a power plant, the EACs have to be redeemed/cancelled either by the utility, which delivers the green energy, or by an end consumer (depends on the system and national regulations). It is highly recommended to be as specific as possible for a unique identification of the redemption/cancellation purpose. I. e. to state a certain green energy tariff, used by utility, if feasible to specify a certain industrial consumer (please be aware of local laws and recommendation).
Are there any rules regarding the sourcing and usage of Energy Attribute Certificate in different countries?
Within different ECAs systems it is possible to transfer EACs from the country of production to the country of consumption (from one national registry to the other) and redeem the EACs for the end consumer located within the geographical boundary of the registry. I.e. an industrial client located in Austria can buy EACs produced in Norway (well – in this case: GOs/GOOs) and have them redeemed. But what about other countries and systems?
- First of all – one can source from the same market/country as the company is located (CDP and I-REC) – which means: same country of production and consumption – which is not mandatory, there are always the following steps:
- Source from the neighboring grid interconnected countries, but keep in mind:
- Source from the countries connected to your EACs system (i.e. Iceland is not grid connected to the mainland EU, but still a very valid member of the EECS system and therefore equal to all others)