RE100's updated technical standards are set to kick in come January 1, 2024. These revisions come packed with adjustments: they introduce a strict deadline for commissioning renewable energy plants and redefine the boundaries of Europe's single market for renewable energy. Additionally, they bolster the sustainability requirements for hydro and biomass energy sources.
What should be on your radar concerning the new technical criteria?
A 15-year commissioning or re-powering date limit
Starting January 1, 2024, RE100 members will need to secure renewable electricity or GOs specifically from power plants constructed or recommissioned within the last 15 years. However, there's a provision: an exemption applies to 15% of a company's overall electricity usage.
This means that if a corporation only sources 15% of its total electricity from renewable sources, none of this portion would be governed by the time limit. For instance, if a company purchases 50% renewable electricity, it can exempt 15% of this and apply the new date threshold to the remaining 35% of its total consumption. Similarly, a company procuring 100% renewable electricity can exempt 15% of its procurement while the remaining 85% must adhere to the new date limit.
New boundaries for the single market for Europe
The revised RE100 criteria now closely mirror CDP standards, tightening Europe's market boundaries. It's essential for companies to recognize that claiming the use of renewable electricity mandates its generation within the same market. This understanding of the new definitions holds significant importance. Additionally, RE100 has removed eight countries from its list of participants within Europe's single market for renewable electricity. These changes signal a more stringent approach to ensure credibility and alignment within the renewable energy sector.
‘Sustainably’ sourced biomass and hydropower
RE100 acknowledges the potential of sustainably generated renewable electricity from biomass and hydropower in achieving decarbonization goals. Consequently, RE100 exclusively acknowledges renewable electricity derived from biomass and hydropower if it meets sustainability criteria. What was once a suggestion within RE100's guidelines has now evolved into a mandatory requirement.
Corporate entities bear the responsibility of ensuring the sustainability of their sources. RE100 suggests that third-party certification serves to verify sustainability credentials.
Grandfathering existing contracts
The RE100 new technical criteria include grandfathering, meaning that contracts that are operational before 1st January 2024 are considered compliant with the new technical rules until they expire. Concretely, contracts for renewable energy procurement that follow the previous criteria on the market boundaries in Europe, or don’t impose commissioning dates for the generation plants, are considered valid by RE100 after 2024, if they are used to decarbonise electricity consumed before 1st January 2024.
What is RE100 aiming to gain with these new criteria?
The revised RE100 criteria, updated every two years, aim to adapt to dynamic markets. They seek to incorporate credible new renewable electricity sources, align with RE100's mission for carbon-free grids by 2040, and increase demand for fresh renewable capacity by setting a 15-year limit. This motivates members to support new projects, boosts credibility by following market best practices, and empowers companies to advocate for more renewable capacity and smoother procurement processes. Ultimately, these changes benefit RE100 members by reinforcing their commitment to advancing the energy transition.
How do the new criteria benefit RE100 members?
The criteria serve a triple purpose. Initially, they validate RE100 members' claims, cementing their status as global renewable leaders. Secondly, these criteria empower members to advocate for increased renewable capacity, influencing grid transformation and enhancing renewable cost competitiveness. Finally, these technical updates are pivotal for RE100's advocacy efforts, enabling campaigns for systems that facilitate renewable electricity purchase and incentivize new generation.
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