Tracking renewable energy sources 24/7

EnergyTag has been launched to develop a standard for renewable energy users to track the provenance of their energy on an hourly basis.

The independent non-profit initiative aims to develop an industry standard to deliver hourly and shorter time certificates to enable renewable energy users to continually track the sources of their energy.

Unlike current renewable energy certificates or ‘guarantees of origin’ which are typically monthly based, an hourly or less certificate would give users an essentially real-time view of the origin of their energy. This is key for meeting 24/7, 100% renewables commitments and carbon reduction goals.

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EnergyTag, the brainchild of Tony Ferenczi, director of international at UK independent supplier OVO, has already attracted the interest of over 60 industry and technology players. Among them are high profile users such as Microsoft and Google, energy companies including Engie and Iberdrola, solution providers including Energy Web and Flexidao, and the trackers M-RETS and RECS International.

Alongside the development of the guidelines, which is in the hands of EnergyTag’s council and advisory board, demonstrator projects are planned as a stimulus to the development of voluntary markets for the certificates.

“We are missing a standardised framework for real-time procurement of renewables and so a move to short timestamp certificates is inevitable,” Ferenczi told Smart Energy International.

He anticipates that as an industry developed product, EnergyTag will become a de facto standard. He also stresses that the focus is on the standard, which will be technology agnostic, rather than the technology that can deliver it, which could be via blockchain or other type of platform.

“A market will create trust and should serve as an incentive for the further development of renewables and energy storage,” says Ferenczi.

The council and advisory board is chaired by Phil Moody, founder and former secretary-general of the Association of Issuing Bodies, the governing body for guarantees of origin in Europe.

He points out that 707 million electricity certificates corresponding to 707TWh were issued in Europe last year involving 26 European countries.

“This success demonstrates what can be achieved when the industry identifies a need, builds a solution itself and then gets legislative support and regulatory approval once established. Current renewable energy procurement methods match average supply and demand over a 12-month period, but to reach the level of renewables required to meet new climate targets, there has to be some way to track the time of generation.”

EnergyTag is not intended to replace existing electricity certification schemes such as renewable energy certificates or guarantees of origin but to work within them as a voluntary ‘add-on’.