Guarantees of renewable origin: how to know if the energy you consume is green

9 January, 2023

The climate emergency has sped up the energy transition and driven sustainability measures in Spain, in line with the vision and policies of the European Union. At the same time, environmental awareness has also been on the rise: consumers increasingly want to buy products and services that are environmentally friendly.

In this context, the different administrations are committed to measures aimed at certifying the sustainability of products and services in order to promote environmentally responsible alternatives, such as eco-labels or guarantees of renewable origin.

What are Guarantees of Renewable Origin?

A Guarantee of Origin (GoO) is an electronic certificate that certifies the renewable nature of energy. It provides information on its production, including when and where it was produced, the type of facility, the production technology and the energy source used, among other aspects.

Renewable Guarantees of Origin aim to boost renewable energy production and provide greater transparency

Guarantees of renewable origin are very useful. In addition to serving as a registry of clean energy production, green consumers have access to detailed information on the origin of the energy.

Accordingly, this mechanism aims to promote the production of renewable energies and offer greater transparency, guaranteeing the green origin of the energy to the consumer.

Types of guarantees of origin

Guarantees of origin are currently in place for electricity and work is underway to ensure that they will also be in place for renewable gases in the near future.

For electricity

In the case of guarantees of origin for electricity, these prove the renewable origin for a quantity of megawatt hours produced by means of unalterable documents with a unique identification number.

Energy producers (facility owners or representatives) can apply for the guarantees of renewable origin on a voluntary basis, and the National Commission on Markets and Competition (CNMC) is the institution responsible for issuing them (after verifying the information) and regulating the guarantees; it is also in charge of providing this information to the public.

For renewable gases

The system of guarantees of renewable origin for electricity was implemented in 2007 and in 2022 it was extended to the certification of renewable gases such as green hydrogen, biogas or biomethane.

Renewable gases are energy solutions that contribute to the development of a circular economy and make it possible to move towards a carbon neutral economy. These are energy carriers that can bring flexibility and resilience to the energy system and contribute to security of supply, favouring the coupling of the gas and electricity sectors.

Renewable gases are energy carriers that can bring flexibility and resilience to the energy system and contribute to security of supply

With this extension of the standard to renewable gases, in addition to bringing guarantees of renewable origin to the gas market, plans are afoot to create a census of renewable energy production facilities.

Guarantees of renewable origin for gases work in a similar way to guarantees for electricity: for each MWh of 100% renewable gas, a Guarantee of Origin is issued with key information (where, when and how the renewable gas is produced, volume, quality, etc.).

In addition, they will detail both the nature of the renewable gas and its commercialisation logistics, distinguishing specifically between gas injected into the grid and gas commercialised via off-grid logistics (in isolated pipelines, in tanker trucks or self-consumed).

Thus, as with electricity, the aim is to provide value-added in the commercialisation of renewable gas to promote its consumption and, consequently, contribute to the reduction of polluting emissions.

The +ES Plan (More Energy Security Plan), approved by the Spanish Government a few months ago, considers this project a priority and establishes two milestones for its implementation: the register of users and production facilities must be set up by January 2023 and the issuing of guarantees of origin by March 2023.

The entity responsible for issuing guarantees of origin for gas from renewable sources is, on a transitional basis, the Technical Manager of the Spanish Gas System (Enagás GTS).