Six recommendations for a scaled-up Guarantees of Origin (GO) scheme to support decarbonisation

Brussels, 24 September 2020 | Achieving climate neutrality by 2050 will require many fundamental changes. In the energy sector, a significant shift towards renewable energy is already under way and will need to be accelerated. Guarantees of Origin (GOs) are currently a valuable tool for documenting the ‘green’ characteristics of renewable electricity, providing consumers with the means to send a signal to the market about their consumption preferences for renewable energy. Transparency on the generation source of energy enables consumers to drive decarbonisation efforts. At the same time, consumer demand for reliably certified energy is growing.

RED II has extended the scope of GOs to gas(es) as well as to heating and cooling. In this context, efforts to develop a robust and standardised GO scheme for renewable and low- carbon gases should be prioritised, including the ongoing revision of the EN16325 standard. Gas certificates require a commonly accepted taxonomy for the different types of gases, while the information on the certificates should build on existing GO and sustainability certificate requirements as laid out in RED II. Updating the current GO framework and ensuring that standards are in place to support the RED II requirements are vital tasks.

However, the GO framework has significant further potential. A scaled-up GO scheme covering all production sources (i.e. both renewable and non-renewable electricity, gas, heating and cooling) would allow key energy sources to be reliably certified and provide the means for consumers to make choices based on the contribution that the energy sources and technologies make to decarbonisation. This in turn would help to incentivise the take-up of renewable energy and would contribute towards achieving renewable energy targets at least cost. The scaled-up scheme would be based on European-wide standards, ensuring that certificates can be transferred between Member States and traded on a European scale.

In the following, we set out six recommendations for an upgraded GO scheme with a strengthened framework and extended scope, based on European-wide standards

1. Extend the scope of GOs to all electricity, gas, heating and cooling production sources, including to non-renewable sources, in all Member States

2. Use GOs to disclose the source of all consumed electricity and gas – full disclosure

3. Define GOs as the sole tool for disclosure in one single legal act
4. Advance the standardisation and tradability of GOs

5. Update GOs to support decarbonisation, including integration between sectors

6. Ensure VAT fraud protection is applied to GOs