For the first time in the UK, renewable energy will be tracked hourly as part of a push towards greater transparency in energy procurement.
A consortium led by start-up Granular and including European power market Nord Pool, Elexon, Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) and Unicorn is launching a new mechanism that will be able to verify where electricity is coming from on an hourly basis. National Grid ESO is also supporting the initative.
Currently in the UK, the Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) certificate scheme is used to match renewable generation and consumption on an annual basis. But this fails to reflect the ‘real world’ situation, said Elexon, as the availability of renewable generation fluctuates from hour to hour.
The new certification system has been designed to comply with the EnergyTag guidelines and will provide energy generators with hourly certificates in the Certigy registry. This will be managed by established Guarantee of Origin registry provider Unicorn.
Energy users will then be able to verify where their electricity is coming from, hour by hour, on Granular’s management platform.
Participants will also be able to trade these certificates both bilaterally or on a centralised auction, which will be managed jointly by Granular and Nord Pool. They will be able to use storage within this trading system, allowing certificates to re-issued later.
The use of these more accurate, real-time certificates will help to send an important price signal that can drive investment in green technologies, the consortium said.
“Hourly energy tracking is vital to building trust in clean energy claims and creates a razor-sharp price signal that will accelerate investment in the technologies needed to deliver clean energy 24/7 worldwide,” said Toby Ferenczi, co-founder of Granular.
The certification mechanism will initially be launched as a pilot project at the end of April, and will include a series of stakeholder engagement workshops. This is still open to new participants.
The launch of the new mechanism follows Elexon and the ESC calling for real-time tracking of carbon in the electricity system in a report released in December 2021, to help tackle greenwashing.
In particular, the use of REGOs have been criticised by a number of groups in recent years, with companies like Good Energy and ScottishPower saying there are “loopholes” within the system that enable greenwashing.