In July, the RE100 initiative reached its target of committing 100 leading businesses to using 100 per cent renewable power. This proves that the energy transition is happening and that not only policy, but also consumers are driving it. But what are the drivers of the energy transition?
One instrument that is crucial to this widening business strategy for clean power, is the Guarantee of Origin (GO).
The Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB) has created and operates the European Energy Certificate System (EECS) to harmonise the functioning of the GOsystems.
The AIB is a 'not for profit' membership organisation consisting of national GO issuing bodies. We have also established an electronic hub for efficiently transferring GOs across the European market.
The hub enables full traceability and transparency and ensures - in a cost-effective way - that there will never be double-selling or double-counting of renewable GOs within this system. There are now already 20 active AIB member countries - all of which are fully EECS compliant.
For the energy transition to benefit from strong consumer support, it's crucial that - within the Clean Energy Package - the GO instrument remain focussed on transparency. All electricity produced from renewable sources needs to receive a GO and other forms of energy from renewable sources - such as biomethane - should also benefit from receiving GOs.
Ideally, all electricity should be reliably and efficiently traceable by GOs, ensuring consumers are informed about their environmental impact, not only when they use renewable power, but also when they don't.
Ownership of the produced electricity should be ensured, so all GOs should be issued to the producer. And stricter rules for consumer information must ensure that consumers get what they expect.
Each GO carries a lot of information, so, for example, it is perfectly feasible to provide consumers with GOs from recently-built plants, to provide 'additionality'.
Finally, the GO instrument must remain efficient and manageable.
The inclusion of new information, on, for example, sustainability issues, should be considered carefully and assessed with regard to practicality and reliability.
Any restrictions on the trading of GOs should be also be considered carefully as the current market for GOs is now finally balanced and growing rapidly. We should avoid this being distorted by new policy initiatives, however well-intentioned.
At AIB, we believe in the power of consumers and their impact on markets, provided they are given the right information and the right instruments. Disclosure information and GOs are crucial instruments that not only support, but also drive European targets towards a low-carbon, integrated and sustainable energy market.
We support these goals, and hope the legislative framework will allow us to keep on doing so. The GO is a necessary instrument for Europe's energy transition, not a way to mislead consumers.