Climate change and carbon management is important to Abu Dhabi just as it is to the rest of the world.
Abu Dhabi like many other environmentally conscious nations, harnesses clean energy based on solar and nuclear and is striving to use many other renewable energy sources.
This energy is being used by many industries, businesses and institutions that operate in Abu Dhabi and produce sustainable products.
To support these industries and businesses in proving that their operations are green, the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy introduced the Clean Energy Certificates Scheme which allows obtaining a certification of the energy source used by any business or operation in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
What are Clean Energy Certificates?
Clean Energy Certificates is the name used in Abu Dhabi for Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs), a worldwide known concept for issuing voluntary tradeable market-based instruments that represent the bearer’s property rights to non-power attributes of a specific amount of electricity that has been generated from a renewable energy source.
Non-power attributes are the environmental and social characteristics of electricity generation and include the renewable fuel type and emission rate of the clean energy source.
The certificates are issued in units of one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated from a validated energy resource.
EACs are referred to differently in various parts of the world. For instance, in Europe, they are called Guarantees of Origins (GOs) while in North America they can be referred to as Green Tags, Tradable Renewable Certificates (TRCs), or Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). However, for any EAC system to be credible, it has to adhere to a regulatory framework and a set of international standards and rules that govern the issuance and trade of the certificates.
It is important to note that Clean Energy Certificates or EACs themselves have no value. Rather, end users are paying for the rights to the non-power attributes that a certificate identifies. The value of these certificates is therefore determined by the market and how much consumers are willing to pay to claim the use of a certified unit of clean energy.
Abu Dhabi’s Clean Energy Certificates Scheme
The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE) has issued a Regulatory Policy for Clean Energy Certificates as part of its commitment to drive the transition to a sustainable decarbonized energy sector and marking a foundational step to establish an EAC market and facilitate trading renewable and nuclear energy atributes in the emirate.
In order to ensure that the Clean Energy Certificates are internationally recognised, the DoE opted to join and adopt the established attribute tracking system for renewable energy certificates developed by the “International REC Standard Foundation” (I-REC Standard). Accordingly, an agreement has been signed between both parties, appointing DoE as the accredited I-REC Issuer for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
A distinctive feature of the agreement with DoE is that, for the first time worldwide, the I-REC Standard allowed issuance of RECs for power generated from nuclear energy, among other technologies. This option is of great value to Abu Dhabi, especially with the launch of the Barakah peaceful nuclear power plant that is set to provide up to 25% of the UAE's electricity needs once fully operational. This also explains why the energy attribute certificates in Abu Dhabi are called Clean Energy Certificates, to cover both renewables and nuclear sources.
Regulatory Policy for Clean Energy Certificates
The Policy sets out the regulations and principles for implementing a clean energy certificates scheme in Abu Dhabi, as a measure to help reduce the carbon footprint associated with power generation while providing a reliable accreditation system that caters to the growing appetite among corporate businesses and households to contribute to the fight against climate change.
Since electricity generated from clean energy sources is indistinguishable from that produced by any other source, such an attribute tracking system is required to validate electricity providers’ and consumers’ claims of using low or zero-emissions electricity, thereby reducing their carbon footprint.
The Regulatory Policy for Clean Energy Certificates supports the overall integrity of measuring, reporting, and accreditation requirements for the issuance and management of such certificates while ensuring alignment with international practices and additional domestic criteria.
Click here for Clean Energy Certification Policy
Who is involved and what gets done?
The Policy identifies four key parties involved in implementing the Clean Energy Certificates Scheme in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Issuer: The DoE is the only entity formally authorised to issue Clean Energy Certificates within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
I-REC Registry: a central registry platform provided by I-REC Standard to keep records of the full lifecycle of ownership and use of the issued Clean Energy Certificates. It records all trading transactions, verifies claims are adherent to I-REC Standard rules, and ensures there is no Clean Energy Certificate double counting.
Single Registrant: Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) will act as the Single Registrant that registers
the renewable and nuclear energy generation plants with I-REC and identifies the sources of electricity injected into the grid from DoE licensed generation entities. Single Registrant will then sell these certificates to Participant(s) in line with the Policy
Participant: Businesses or consumers who wish to obtain a clean energy certificate can act as Participants by opening an account in the I-REC Registry platform and then purchase certificate from the Single Registrant. The certificates are issued by DoE in units of 1 MW/h upon receiving a request from the Single Registrant (EWEC).
How does it work?
The purpose of the certificate is to prove to the final customer or beneficiary that a given share of energy was produced from clean sources.
As energy generated from renewable and clean sources cannot be distinguished from other energy sources once it is on the grid, purchasing a Clean Energy Certificate from is the only way for end-users within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to claim that the energy they are using is clean.
- The energy is produced at the generation source (renewable or nuclear power plant) and input into the electricity grid
- The Single Registrant (EWEC) lists that energy in the I-REC Registry for validation
- Once verified, the Registrant requests the Issuer (DoE) whether they can issue clean energy certificates in 1 MW/h units equivalent to the amount of clean energy generated and verified upon receiving a request from the Participant
- The Single Registrant (EWEC)will issue the certificate to the Participant(s) in line with the Policy
- Participants can request Clean Energy Certificates from the Single Registrant (EWEC) to make reliable claims about their energy consumption
- Clean Energy Certificates can then be redeemed by the beneficiary when the energy has been consumed.
Only the person or entity that purchases a Clean Energy Certificate can claim the usage of the specific megawatt-hour certified in that certificate. This prevents the non-power attributes associated with the certificate from being claimed by another end-user.
Who can get these certificates?
Participants that request the certificates and beneficiaries that redeem the certificates can be anyone consuming electricity in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi including large and small corporates, developers, estate owners like hospitals, hotels and leisure facilities, schools, households, and the general public.
Where are these certificates valid?
The Clean Energy Certificates are valid within the market for electricity in Abu Dhabi and involve the production and consumption of electricity within the emirate.
How do I become a Participant?
Any market player or end-user consuming electricity in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, can apply to register as a Participant.
To apply for Registry access and open a trade account directly the International REC Standard, you need to fill in an I-REC Participant Application Form, sign the participant standard terms and agreements and send scanned copies of both form to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Following the review of the application, the applicant will receive login details to the Registry.
For guidelines and to download the required forms, go to: https://www.irecstandard.org/participants/ or send an email to email@example.com
Alternatively, if you need assistance or would like to track and verify your renewable and clean energy consumption, please go to: EWEC’s Clean Energy Certificates webpage or contact the EWEC team at: CleanEnergyCertificates@ewec.ae