How green is your electricity? LichtBlick, 50Hertz and Granular Energy start pilot project for more transparency in green electricity
To reach a carbon-free future, the integration of more and more electricity from renewable sources is crucial. Energy certificates with higher granularity can make an important contribution to this by creating prices signals that encourage the use of grid-friendly technologies such as energy storage or flexible charging of electric vehicles.
Green electricity pioneer LichtBlick, the transmission system operator 50Hertz and the start-up Granular Energy have started a pilot project in Germany to enable hourly level transparency on green electricity sources. As part of the project, several corporate customers of LichtBlick can now track the hour at which they are purchasing green electricity from specific renewable generation plants thanks to a platform provided by Granular Energy. The energy certificates generated in this way are recorded in the 50Hertz ‘Energy Track and Trace’ registry.
Under existing energy certificate schemes, known as ‘Guarantees of Origin’ in the EU, consumers may purchase official certificates of clean electricity generation to show that they have consumed carbon-free energy. At present, consumers may match their total annual consumption with certificates produced at any point in the same year. This ‘annual matching’ fails to reflect the real world situation, where the availability of renewable energy can fluctuate dramatically from hour-to-hour.
Many organisations are now seeking to source carbon-free energy on an hour by-hour basis as part of a drive towards greater transparency in energy procurement and to have greater carbon reducing impact through their energy purchases.
The new certification system, which is intended to comply with the EnergyTag guidelines, will allow participants to receive time-stamped certificates for their power generation in the Energy Track and Trace registry, built and managed by the grid operator 50 Hertz.
Using Granular Energy’s platform, LichtBlick is able to manage these certificates in an automated way to give end-consumers full-transparency of where their energy is coming from down to the hourly level. Participants will also eventually be able trade these hourly certificates to improve their level of hourly matching. By allowing batteries to store and re-issue these certificates later, this new system creates an important price signal that drives investment in the flexible energy technologies needed to reach a fully carbon-free grid.
The new certification system is a pilot project that is still open to new participants. The first energy supplier to participate in the program is Lichtblick (part of the Dutch utility Eneco) who are using the system to deliver hour by hour transparency to some of their large corporate customers.
Dr Dirk Biermann, Managing Director Markets and System Operations at 50Hertz said: “In the 50Hertz grid area, we already have a 65% share of renewable energy in annual electricity consumption. On the way to 100 percent, we need additional market-based instruments to set the right investment incentives. In the current system, consumers can claim to consume solar energy during the night. Going forward, the market and the physical reality must move closer together.”
Enno Wolf, COO at LichtBlick, added “Guarantees of origin are the birth certificate of green electricity. They create transparency and prevent the double marketing of green electricity. So far, however, the certificates do not guarantee that the green electricity assigned to a customer is generated at the time of consumption. This is where the system can and must be improved. With our project, we demonstrate that an hourly reconciliation of generation and consumption is possible.”
Bart Zomer, Director of Operations and IT at Eneco Energy Trade said “We believe that energy certificates can play a key role in supporting the energy transition. We are happy to support innovation projects such as this that can help to drive change.”
Toby Ferenczi, co-founder of Granular Energy, commented: “It is essential that consumers can choose renewable energy over fossil fuels in a way that is credible and has a real impact in accelerating the transition to a carbon-free energy system. Hourly energy tracking creates a razorsharp price signal for the technologies that deliver clean energy when it is most needed, such as energy storage.”
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