REGO-backed 100 per cent renewable electricity contracts can save the planet and your costs, says Will Richardson.
04 March 2019 | Will Richardson
Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) certificates guarantee that when a consumer buys a 100 per cent renewable electricity contract, there will be no double counting of the renewable energy.
The REGO scheme provides transparency to consumers about the proportion of electricity that suppliers source from renewable generation. All EU member states are required to have such a scheme.
Ofgem administers the scheme for generation in Great Britain on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, and in Northern Ireland on behalf of the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation.
Ofgem issues one REGO certificate per megawatt hour (MWh) of eligible renewable output to generators of renewable electricity.
As such, the primary use of REGOs is for fuel mix disclosure, which requires licensed electricity suppliers to disclose to customers the mix of fuels (coal, gas, nuclear, renewable and other) used to generate the electricity supplied. The REGO itself is a unique code that details which renewable generator produced the power. By choosing a REGO-backed supply for your business, your electricity supplier must match your estimated usage with 100 per cent renewable electricity.
Emissions from electricity are reported under the GHG protocol's Scope 2 category. Before 2014, Scope 2 emissions were reported using a 'location-based' method that meant the average fuel mix of the consumer's grid was used as the emissions factor.
Now there is a recommendation from the WRI, which is responsible for the GHG Protocol, to report 'market-based' Scope 2 emissions - emissions are calculated using the fuel mix of the electricity provider.
Your electricity supplier must provide you with the fuel mix you are using, which will dictate the carbon emissions you report. So if you have bought a 100 per cent renewable contract, under the market-based method of Scope 2 reporting, you can report zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Scope 2 Guidance explains that 'market instruments' must back a renewable electricity contract. So having a 100 per cent REGO-backed electricity supply guarantees that your power is backed by renewable generation, and can be reported as zero carbon.
Scope 2 reports metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (CO2e). This is calculated as the megawatt hours of electricity that your business has consumed, multiplied by the reported carbon emissions of the electricity that it has received.
Securing a REGO-backed contract
The 'big six' energy suppliers offer genuine REGO-backed contracts at little or no extra cost compared with the 'brown' or residual fuel mix contracts.
There are also 100 per cent renewable energy companies such as Ecotricity and Good Energy that only produce renewable electricity and are also sourcing increasing proportions of gas from renewable sources.
Will Richardson is founder of environmental management consultancy Green Element