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Ensuring Renewable Electricity Market Instruments Contribute to the Global Low-Carbon Transition and Sustainable Development Goals

03 / 2017

As Gold Standard prepares to launch its new Renewable Energy Product Label, Chief Technical Officer Owen Hewlett, and Meinrad Bürer, Chair of Gold Standard’s Technical Governance Committee, discuss the pros and cons of existing renewable energy attribute certificates, and important lessons we can learn from carbon markets.

The International Energy Agency projects that the world needs to double its current renewable power capacity by 2030, if the ambitious – yet crucial – 2oC global warming limit set by the Paris Agreement is to be achieved.
 
As the world’s biggest consumers of energy, corporations have an opportunity to be powerful drivers of global change. In the absence of global requirements on renewable energy purchases, many are taking proactive action to drive the transition to a low-carbon economy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. 
 
Among the options companies wishing to purchase renewable electricity can consider, renewable energy attribute certificates are one of the most convenient, affordable and accessible choices. Through purchasing renewable energy attribute certificates, companies send a clear signal they want to increase demand for, and availability of, new renewable electricity generation capacity. Yet, the quality and rigour of different certification approaches is variable and not all renewable energy attribute certificates result in net greenhouse gas reductions or the generation of new renewable electricity sources.
 
Our new paper released today, looks at important lessons we can learn from carbon markets to ensure that companies investing in renewable energy attribute certificates can feel confident they are contributing to cleaner air, a safer climate and a sustainable future for our planet. 
 
Gold Standard looks forward to launching a new Renewable Energy Product Label later this year, with support from South Pole Group and the Overlook International Foundation. As a product offering under Gold Standard for the Global Goals, the new label will promote new renewable electricity generation capacity and ensure quality at the project level, including contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. By supporting projects that wish to transition from generating Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) to renewable energy attribute certificates, we aim to provide greater flexibility for project developers and funders.
 
Gold Standard’s Chief Technical Officer, Owen Hewlett, is presenting the latest plans for our new Renewable Energy Product Label today at the RECs International Conference, Amsterdam. We will provide you with further information as label development progresses. 
 

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