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Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin

The RES Directive (2018/2001/EC and its precedessor 2009/28/EC) promote a substantial increase in the proportion of electricity generated from renewable energy sources across the European Union . It also determines that Member States shall ensure that the origin of energy from renewable sources can be guaranteed in accordance with objective, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria.
Guarantees of Origin (GOs) have the purpose of showing to a final customer that a given share or quantity of energy was produced from renewable sources.

Individual Member States have all been required to take appropriate steps to encourage greater production of electricity from renewables, expressed in share of overall consumption. Each State has its own indicative target, depending on issues such as historical experience with renewables.

For the purposes of the RES Directive, energy from renewable sources is defined as "energy from renewable non-fossil sources, namely wind, solar, aerothermal, geothermal, hydrothermal and ocean energy, hydropower, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogases”.

The RES Directive requires Member States to give producers the opportunity to obtain electronic guarantees of origin (GO) for energy generated from these sources. Member States shall as such issue GOs for electricity, gas (including hydrogen) and heating and cooling.

GOs provide proof that energy has been generated from renewable sources (as defined in the RES Directive), specifying the source of the energy; the dates when it was produced; the identity, location, type and capacity of the production facility; whether the GO relates to electricity or heating or cooling; whether and to what extent the installation has benefited from support; the date when the installation became operational; the date and country of issue; and a unique identification number.

There is no fixed price for a GO, and their value depends on market demand.

The main provisions of the RES Directive concerning GOs are contained in Article 19, which requires Member States to ensure that a GO is issued on request by producers of electricity, gas, hydrogen, heating or cooling) from eligible renewable energy sources, as defined by the RES Directive. The system is purely voluntary, and individual producers can decide whether or not they wish to make such a request.

The main provisions of Article 19:

  1. Define and limit the purpose of a GO
  2. Set out the conditions under which they are issued
  3. Specify the conditions for using a GO
  4. Set out the conditions for appointing supervisory bodies for national GO systems
  5. Lay down basic ground rules for the supervisory body
  6. Specify the content of the GO
  7. Enables GOs to be used for energy source disclosure
  8. Define the impact of purchasing and selling GOs of the supplied energy mix
  9. Lay down the conditions under which a Member State may refuse a GO
  10. Provide the Commission with the power to require a member State to recognise a GO where a reported breach of such conditions has been successfully challenged
  11. Enables Member States to define how GOs are used for the disclosure purposes of the Internal Electricity Markets Directive (2019/944/EC).