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Leading Associations Call for Stronger Renewable Energy Disclosure in Europe

21 November 2016 |

Upcoming revisions to the European Renewable Energy Directive (RED) need to go further to meet consumer demand and build greater support for renewable energy, according to seven leading European associations.

One of the key successes of the RED so far has been the creation and implementation of the Guarantees of Origin (GO) tracking system, which now represents 360 TWh per annum of electricity produced by solar, wind and other renewable sources. The GO system remains the only credible way to claim 100% renewable electricity sourcing in Europe by providing a guarantee that the claims made by energy suppliers are valid. It is considered an important way to drive market demand for renewable energy by enabling consumer choice.

A June 2015 report showed that the European Union (EU) is on track to meet the RED requirements to fulfil a minimum of 20% of its total energy needs with renewables by 2020. The RED is currently being revised to plan for the period 2020 to 2030. In light of this upcoming revision, seven leading industry associations including CDP, RECS International and EKOenergy have written an open letter to the European Commission (EC). The letter praises the GO system yet also recognises that improved disclosure and regulation could further support EU consumers in their choice to purchase renewable energy.

GOs contain reliable information about the source and type of renewable energy that has been produced, although they are not yet legally required to disclose its associated carbon emissions, which should be zero or at least much lower than fossil fuel-produced energy. Yet, since the release of new guidance on Scope 2 reporting in 2014, businesses around the world have been using renewable energy instruments such as GOs to report zero-emission electricity sourcing. In fact, the ability to report zero emissions against electricity use is one of the main driving factors for corporates to purchase renewable energy instruments. In line with this consumer demand, the seven associations are calling for more sophisticated and transparent disclosure from GOs, to include the environmental impacts of the energy produced. This will enable consumers to make accurate claims about the environmental impacts of their electricity use including carbon intensity and radioactive waste.

The joint communication also gives strong support for the extension of the GO system to all energy generation types to create a level playing field that is more cost-efficient than current disclosure systems. Making it easier for consumers to purchase renewable energy will ultimately send a market signal that drives a greater proportion of renewable energy into the grid.

Due to be published before the end of 2016, RED II will likely have implications for renewable energy producers, traders and consumers, and the industry, with the opportunity to build stable policy foundations that will further empower consumer action and ensure a sustainable energy future.