Attaining EU’s 20 % target for renewable energy boils down to consumer choice
The European Union is aiming for 20 % of final energy consumption supplied from renewable energy sources by 2020. To attain this goal, Member States have implemented RES support schemes such as the feed-in tariff and green certificates, but among these governmental support schemes, the voice of consumers is often forgotten.
Yes; consumers can exert their preference indirectly through parliamentary elections and citizen’s initiatives, but today, a more straightforward method exists. Through the liberalization of the energy market (e.g. differentiated electricity products and free choice of electricity supplier) the origin of electricity is becoming a vital differentiating element for electricity suppliers. This in turn benefits renewable energy producers and empowers consumers.
It is crucial to note, that when we’re talking about modern electricity tracking instruments, we are no longer restricted to methods such as nucleo-stop, which to be honest, is a complete hoax. Instead, we are dealing with an EU mandated robust and reliable accounting mechanism, which guarantees that you are the sole owner of the renewable source, which is sold to you.
For example when buying wind electricity product X from supplier Y, the volume of wind energy supplied to you, will be taken out of the general mix disclosed to regular electricity consumers in electricity bills. Double counting of renewable energy attributes is completely avoided (for more information, see EC Directives 2009/28, Article 15 and 2009/72, Article 3, Paragraph 9).
Now here’s where it gets interesting: if double counting is avoided and consumers start opting for green electricity, then pretty soon there will be limited renewable energy free to “go around”. With renewable attributes becoming increasingly scarce, the support of consumers to RES producers gains financial significance. But even more importantly, it sends out a powerful message to the respective government: Consumers want green energy! In the meantime, fossil and nuclear generators will be forced to cut back, because no one wants their output anymore.
Naturally, a change of this magnitude will not happen overnight, but each consumed green kWh is paving the way.
In a world where anything from pet food to toothbrushes is marketed with some sort of environmental value, it is increasingly complex to demonstrate environmental values with consumer choices. These choices come to us daily, and often their environmental benefit remains a mystery. Making a green electricity contract with your power supplier allows for you to affordably, easily and constantly take part in the shift towards green energy. Think about it: While you’re hasting to work, your refrigerator is supporting a windmill.
When the electricity bill slides down your letterbox, you are rewarded with a better conscious and a guarantee that 100% of the electricity supplied to you originated from renewable energy sources.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Relevant sites: Grexel