Additionality is the extra benefit or impact gained from a particular action or investment in environmental conservation or sustainability.
In the case of carbon offset projects, additionality is crucial. It ensures that the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions claimed by the project is additional to what would have occurred without that initiative. This means that the project needs to demonstrate that it would not have happened without the financial support from the carbon offset funding.
Additionality in renewable energy certificates (RECs) emphasizes that the renewable electricity generated and associated with these certificates is additional to what would have been produced without the existence of the certificate system. It ensures that the environmental benefits claimed by the purchaser of RECs are genuine and represent a real contribution to renewable energy generation.
In essence, for a renewable energy project to claim additionality, it must meet the following criteria:
- Incrementality: The renewable energy generation must be in addition to what would have occurred without the incentive of selling RECs. Demonstrating additionality occurs when the revenue from the sale of RECs is the sole factor enabling the realization of the renewable energy project.
- Causality: The funds generated from the sale of RECs must directly contribute to the project's viability, ensuring that the revenue generated is instrumental in making the project economically feasible.
Ensuring genuine support for renewable energy growth, the concept of additionality is crucial. It confirms that the REC purchaser incentivizes the expansion of renewable sources, not merely buying certificates linked to energy produced irrespective of the REC system. This way, the claims of using renewable energy are credible, promoting the growth and development of new renewable energy projects.