Responsible businesses can now have increased confidence in the credentials of the renewable electricity that they have purchased, with help from a pioneering initiative expected to provide a boost to smaller-scale generators such as farms and communities.

The initiative launched by SmartestEnergy, the UK’s largest purchaser of renewable electricity from the independent generation sector, will help support demand for renewable power at a time when the sector is facing financial pressures due to changes in Government policy.

Linking energy consumers with the source of their generation

The SmartestEnergy Tariff Emission Factor Model, which underpins this new initiative, has been developed with support from the Carbon Trust and has been certified according to the GHG Protocol Product Standard. The model enables SmartestEnergy to allocate renewable certificates to specific tariffs or customers, ensuring a link can be made between how energy is generated and the end consumer.

Advanced customers looking to go even further will be able to choose exactly which renewable technology their electricity is generated from, allowing them to make more informed energy purchase choices.

An energy label - similar to those used to show the energy efficiency performance of buildings - will be produced annually for each customer to show the source of their electricity supply and the associated carbon footprint at the point of generation. The model will also enable SmartestEnergy to provide its customers with a bespoke fuel mix and emissions factor for the energy supplied in the preceding year. This information can be used for corporate carbon reporting related to Scope 2 emissions.

Move expected to support demand for renewable power

Robert Groves, SmartestEnergy’s Chief Executive Officer, said the launch was timely given recent changes to policy announced in the sector.

“Following the removal of the exemption from Climate Change Levy for renewable power, we hope this product will help to create a viable market for renewable energy and support the UK achieving our 2020 carbon reduction targets,” said Groves.

“A growing number of large businesses are looking to reduce their carbon footprint by buying 100% renewable electricity and we believe this energy label will support that ambition.

“We recognise some organisations will want to go further and specify the types of renewable electricity they buy - whether that be just from natural sources or from a particular technology or project - and we can also support that,” said Groves.

Carbon Trust verification provides certainty

The Carbon Trust’s Chief Executive Officer, Tom Delay said:

“The growth of renewable electricity generation and the evolution of standards in corporate reporting, present an opportunity both to help the UK meet its carbon targets, and also for companies to be recognised for taking action to reduce their corporate carbon footprints. This is a complex area and businesses want to have confidence that when they purchase renewable energy, this is supported with the appropriate level of rigour and traceability.

“This new service from SmartestEnergy, supported by the Carbon Trust’s expertise in carbon footprinting, is providing exactly the kind of transparency required to ensure that suppliers of electricity are not contributing to double counting or under reporting of corporate emissions, by enabling certificates to be tracked and attributed to specific tariffs or customers.”

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