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As more and more companies are addressing their Scope 2 emissions by sourcing renewable energy, it is essential that the claims they make are verifiable and accurate.
To credibly demonstrate the delivery and use of grid-connected renewable energy, businesses require the support of tracking instruments which track the attributes of the renewable energy from generation to consumption. These instruments each represent the attributes of one megawatt-hour (MWh) of clean energy, including the fuel type (for example solar, wind or hydropower), location, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and any other environmental or social benefits or impacts. Through the use of this type of tracking instrument a business can be sure their renewable energy claim is verifiable.
Building on The GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance, the RE100 guidance explains that reliable renewable energy tracking systems are independent, transparent and robust, and renewable energy sourcing claims made by businesses must be:
Accurate: Any communications outreach by the company should accurately reflect the actions taken by that company.
Credible: Generation and attribute data should accurately and credibly convey the GHG emission rate of the electricity purchased. With the exception of biomass, the direct GHG emissions factor for renewable energy generation is zero tonnes of CO2e per MWh at the point of generation.
Exclusive: Companies can claim to have sourced each MWh of renewable energy only once. There must be no double counting nor double claiming of the attributes, to ensure exclusive ownership.
Verifiable: Recognised tracking systems enable credible claims, whereas other systems require third-party certificate programmes to verify claims.
Specific: Claims made should be as specific as possible, including the boundary of the consumption addressed (for example a specific office or region), the proportion of electricity consumed that was produced by renewable sources, and the period of consumption covered by the renewable energy purchase. For example, “We source 100% renewable electricity to power our London and New York offices and have been doing so every year since 2012” is better than “We source renewable energy.”
In addition, companies should consume electricity close to the location of its generation, and certainly within a geographical boundary limit which will depend on the certificate system and grid connection.
The guidance also reiterates that the purchase of renewable energy certificates should ensure that the generation matches the consumption period. Whereas EECS GOs have a 12-month shelf life after which they expire if they have not been cancelled in support of a renewable energy claim, certain certification programmes enforce their own criteria. For example, Green-e Energy requires that companies use Green-e Energy certificates for renewables that are generated in the calendar year in which they are sold, the first three months of the following calendar year, or the last six months of the prior calendar year.
Natural Capital Partners supports clients to achieve their renewable energy goals around the world by developing portfolios of high-quality energy attribute certificates, including Green-e Energy and EKOenergy certificates, which fulfil these criteria. Contact us or visit our Renewable Energy solutions page for more information.
View the full RE100 guidance here: Making Credible Renewable Electricity Usage Claims.