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Types of certificate >>

Types of certificate


What types of certificate are there? Are they all supported by EECS?
Are there certificates for all types of electricity?
Can you get financial support from the Government and have voluntary certificates too?
What are “voluntary certificates”?
What is an EECS Certificate?
What is an energy certificate?
What is the difference between a Guarantee of Origin and a RECS certificate?
What is the difference between an EECS certificate and a TUV certificate?
Why do we have many types of certificates, instead of just Guarantees of Origin?



Are there certificates for all types of electricity?
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EECS now supports the following:

  • Renewable energy is supported by EECS-GO (obligatory Guarantees of Origin under Directives 2001/77/EC and 2009/28/EC) and RECS (voluntary) certificates
  • Fossil and nuclear energy are supported by EECS Disclosure certificates (these support the Internal Markets in Electricity Directives 2003/54/EC and 2009/72/EC)
  • High efficiency CHP is supported by CHP-GO (obligatory Guarantees of Origin for CHP, under Directive 2004/8/EC).

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Can you get financial support from the Government and have voluntary certificates too?
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In certain circumstances this is possible, but it must be recorded on the voluntary certificate as an “earmark”. This is because some purchasers of certificates do not want to buy supported certificates. In other circumstances this is not possible: either certificates are not awarded to supported plant, or else they are immediately cancelled.

Voluntary certificates and Guarantees of Origin are given a value by the market, which benefits all parties in the supply chain. Within national support schemes that use them (for instance, Certificati Verdi in Italy, ROCs and LECs in the UK and Elcerts in Sweden), certificates have a value which has been conferred on them by government. To date, these have been managed in systems which are not integrated with EECS. However, EECS will support such certificates should this be required by government.


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What are “voluntary certificates”?
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Voluntary certificates are those issued as the result of a voluntary initiative, and not because of a requirement under national law or regulation. These currently include RECS certificates.
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What is an EECS Certificate?
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EECS certificates have standard contents. They contain information about:
  • the issuer
  • the time and date of production
  • the source of the energy and the technology used to convert it into its current form
  • the identity, capacity, commissioning date and location of the generation plant
  • units of energy (e.g. megawatt hours)
  • the purpose and eligibility of the certificate under various schemes and Directives, and whether other certificates have been issued for this unit of energy
  • whether public support has been received by the plant (investment support) or the owner of the associated energy (production support).
    • In addition, for Disclosure and CHP certificates, carbon dioxide emissions information is carried.

      This information is presented in a standard way, using agreed codes, data formats and rules. EECS certificates also have quality criteria: the certificate issuers are bound by a code of conduct prohibiting such matters as issuing several certificates for the same energy, and forbidding them to take a position in the market.

      EECS certificates may be transferred to accounts registered in databases managed by other certificate issuers by means of the EECS network. v


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What is an energy certificate?
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An energy certificate is an electronic document which provides proof of the source of 1,000 kWh of electrical energy (an average European household would need between 3 and 5 certificates each year to prove where its electricity comes from).

Electricity comes from many generators and is transported to consumers across an electricity grid. This mixes energy from various sources, so it is not possible for consumer to know where their energy comes from. However, it is possible to contract with a plant to generate into the grid, and suppliers do this on behalf of their customers, using certificates as evidence that the energy has been generated. Nobody knows where the electricity flows, but certificates let us see where the money has gone.

Energy certificates can be used to support the claims of generators, suppliers and consumers as evidence of energy production or consumption, whether as proof of "green supply"; as a condition of receiving public support; or as proof of "environmental credentials".

Certificates can be bought by entering into contract of sale, either with another market party or with an Exchange. This contract may specify what they can be used for, particularly in the case of certificates that are associated with public support schemes. Note that energy suppliers represent their customer base, buying certificates on behalf of consumers.

Energy certificates are created by an independent "issuing body", which guarantees their quality and credibility by means of various checks and controls. They can then be transferred between accounts held on a central registration database (otherwise known as a "registry") by market participants. When the associated energy is sold to a final consumer, or perhaps used as evidence by a public body, then the certificate is made non-tradable and moved to a separate account from tradable certificates.

Energy certificates which are used as evidence of the use of renewable energy are also called:

  • Guarantees of Origin (GO)
  • Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
  • Tradable Renewable Energy Certificates (TRECs)
  • Tradable Renewable Certificates (TRCs)
  • Green certificates.
    •  

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What is the difference between a Guarantee of Origin and a RECS certificate?
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Guarantees of Origin and RECS certificates fulfill the same function, and are of the same quality. Where they differ is that a Guarantee of Origin is required under the EU "RES Directive" (201/77/EC and its successor, 2009/28/EC), which are obligatory on all Member States of the European Union; whereas RECS certificates are issued as a voluntary initiative by energy companies.

Although it is possible for Guarantees of Origin to be printed, the EECS standard does not support this: all EECS Guarantees of Origin and RECS certificates are electronic. The reasons for this are given elsewhere in these FAQ "Why should certificates be electronic?" and "Can you print EECS certificates?".

Countries where the certificate issuer does not provide electronic and transferable Guarantees of Origin may adopt voluntary RECS certificates. Alternatively, they can contract with a service organisation to use Guarantees of Origin as a basis for issuing EECS Guarantees of Origin, while preventing the original Guarantees of Origin from being reused.

If this sounds a little confusing, think of it this way. Gold assures the value of a currency in a similar way that Guarantees of Origin assures the value of an EECS Guarantee of Origin. You keep the gold (and the Guarantee of Origin) in the bank vault; and you trade the currency (and the EECS Guarantee of Origin).


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What is the difference between an EECS certificate and a TUV certificate?
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A TUV certificate is the product of a single organisation, while EECS certificates are harmonised across many market parties and certificate administrators throughout Europe.

Also, EECS certificates have been developed in cooperation with the European Commission (the RECS test phase was sponsored by the Commission; and CHP-GO were developed in close cooperation with the Commission).


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Why do we have many types of certificates, instead of just Guarantees of Origin?
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RECS certificates were in place before Guarantees of Origin, and not all countries have yet joined the AIB in order to benefit from the European Energy Certificate System (EECS). For this reason, renewable energy is represented by both RECS certificates and renewable energy Guarantees of Origin.

Guarantees of Origin are obligatory in all countries within the European Union under EU Directive 2001/77/EC and its successor, 2009/28/EC (renewable energy); and EU Directive 2004/8/EC (high efficiency CHP).

There is no requirement for Guarantees of Origin for fossil and nuclear energy, or for lower efficiency CHP. However, it is useful to have certificates for all types of energy, as it enables anyone selling energy to consumers to let them know where all of the supplied the energy comes from, rather than having to use a statistically-based “residual mix”. For this reason, EECS provides certificates for fossil and nuclear energy.

Further, not all countries have implemented the Directive(s) in the same way: for instance, code “x” may be “wind” in one country, and code “y” in another. Also, the information on certificates is not always collected in the same way. This hinders the international transfer of Guarantees of Origin, and leads to market participants in some countries using the voluntary RECS scheme instead.


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