Defining and building a market for hourly energy certificates

“Our mission is to accelerate the transition to renewable energy through 24/7 energy tracking

The EnergyTag Initiative is an independent, non-profit, industry-led initiative to define and build a market for hourly electricity certificates that enables energy users to verify the source of their electricity and carbon emissions in real-time.

White paper

This is the first in a series of publications by the EnergyTag Initiative. The report describes the history of existing EACs and accounting frameworks, the potential benefits of moving towards increased temporal granularity, the structure and activities of the EnergyTag organisation itself, the starting principles behind the Initiative, and the first EnergyTag demonstrator projects.

Download
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The need for
hourly certificates

It’s a cruel irony that the more successful we are at deploying renewable energy the harder it gets to integrate that energy into the grid. Current renewable energy procurement methods match average supply and demand over a 12-month period. This works well when there is only a small amount of renewables but as the share of wind and solar increases this method significantly overestimates carbon savings* and means that organisations following today’s criteria for being ‘100% renewable’ still rely on fossil fuel electricity from the grid many times a day throughout the year. Without sufficient precision, energy consumers lack visibility on the source of their energy and carbon emissions, and there is no incentive for energy storage and flexibility.

* [de Chandelar et al, Stanford University 2019]

The benefits of hourly energy certificates

Adopting a 24/7 hour-by-hour accounting period for certificates enables consumers to understand exactly where their energy is coming from and what their carbon emissions are at any given moment. This benefits consumers and the environment in several ways:

  • Builds trust by linking production to consumption in ‘real-time’
  • Supports storage and flexibility by providing a new price signal
  • Enables accurate carbon accounting by tracking hourly carbon data
  • Supports new market models such as nodal pricing

Our goal is to establish a common, tradable instrument that provides traceability across markets for power, flexibility and carbon.

Updates

White paper launch

The EnergyTag Initiative has proudly launched their white paper, the first in a series of publications, titled ‘EnergyTag and granular energy certificates: Accelerating the transition to 24/7 clean power’.

The report describes the history of existing EACs and accounting frameworks, the potential benefits of moving towards increased temporal granularity, the structure and activities of the EnergyTag organisation itself, the starting principles behind the Initiative, and the first EnergyTag demonstrator projects.

April update

The EnergyTag Initiative is holding working groups over the coming weeks to discuss inputs to our white paper and the development of several demonstrator projects around the world – to participate please use the contact form on this website.

The concept of hourly energy certificates is growing fast and we already have a community of nearly 200 companies. For an overview of the project and to see some of those already involved watch our overview video.

Consultation open until 5th February

The first consultation on the details of an hourly renewable energy certificate standard and how it should fit into existing markets is open for comment until 5th February. We are inviting comment on questions such as the size of an EnergyTag, whether it should include carbon emissions, how storage should be treated and many others.

The responses will feed into a white paper to be released in March. Please let us know your thoughts… you don’t have to be a member to participate:

EIT InnoEnergy hosted an interactive webinar on the EnergyTag Initiative in December with speakers from EnergyTag, Google, ENGIE and PwC. You can watch the recording here:

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The EnergyTag Initiative

EnergyTag is an independent, global, non-profit, industry-led initiative to define and build a market for hourly electricity certificates. The EnergyTag standard is a voluntary set of guidelines that work with existing certificate schemes such as GOs and RECs and with other procurement methods such as PPAs.

The initiative currently has three main activities;

  • Setting a standard for an hourly time-stamped energy certificate and guidelines for a voluntary market
  • Coordination of demonstrator projects to showcase technology and kick-start market development
  • Raising awareness of the importance of hourly accounting in energy
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How we work

We are independent from any particular technology or organisation, but our membership comprises over 60 leading companies, NGOs and academic institutions. Our Council and Advisory Board are working to define the first standard for energy certificates with a timestamp of 1 hour (or less) and set market guidelines for issuing and trading certificates. In parallel, the initiative will stimulate the first voluntary markets by coordinating a series of demonstrator projects around the world and will showcase existing technologies for real-time renewable energy tracking.

Demonstrator projects

The EnergyTag Initiative is coordinating a number of projects around the world to test how the standard works in practice and showcase technologies for 24/7 energy tracking. Please get in touch if you are interested in participating.

Timeline

The EnergyTag Initiative has in May published a white paper, available to read here, outlining a first version of the EnergyTag guidelines. Over the coming months, the EnergyTag team and members will continue to develop the guidelines, and the first demonstrator projects will continue in parallel throughout 2021. The EnergyTag Initiative aims to publish an additional report by the end of 2021.

Our membership

Founding advisory board members include the world’s largest renewable producers and consumers, grid operators, start-ups and key organisations in the energy certificates market, including;

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Administration

Toby is founder of The EnergyTag Initiative and Director of International at OVO. He has a PhD in solar energy from Imperial College London, and an undergraduate in Physics from Cambridge University. His previous roles include Managing Director at VCharge (acquired by OVO) and cofounder at Engensa (acquired by Hanergy). He also has experience working for General Electric and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

EnergyTag coordinator Caroline Gentry is a freelance energy communications consultant and MBA candidate at Sussex University. Caroline spent many years developing power, natural gas and environmental attribute market indexes in the London and Washington DC/Houston offices of Argus Media, a leading price reporting agency. Recently she was editor of Engerati, focussing on electricity sector digitalisation and the clean energy transition.

EnergyTag Council and Advisory Board Chair Phil Moody has advised government and industry on energy markets since the late 1980s. He worked with stakeholders across Europe to create the voluntary RECS certificate market and founded the Association of Issuing Bodies, of which he was Secretary General from 2002 until this summer. The AIB now has 29 members, each appointed by an EU member state as the body responsible for its guarantee of origin system. The AIB is the leading enabler of international energy certificate schemes through the European Energy Certificate System – EECS – of which Phil was a co-author, and from which the CEN/CENELEC standard for guarantees of origin was developed. While stepping down as Secretary General, Phil retains an active interest in the ongoing development of the AIB, EECS and GOs.