Abu Dhabi launches clean energy certificate scheme

22 September 2021

The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE) has issued a regulatory policy for implementing a clean energy certificates scheme it says will cater to a growing appetite among businesses and consumers to contribute to the fight against climate change. The scheme provides an accreditation system based on internationally recognised standards and lays the foundations for a market for trading renewable and nuclear energy attributes.

Barakah 1 and 2 are both supplying electricity to the grid (Image: Enec)

The Regulatory Policy for Clean Energy Certificates, which was announced by the department on 29 August, is part of its commitment to drive the transition to a sustainable decarbonised energy sector. Since electricity generated from clean energy sources is indistinguishable from that produced by any other source, an attribute tracking system is needed to validate claims by both electricity providers and consumers that they are using low or zero-emissions electricity and reducing their carbon footprint. Clean Energy Certificates are voluntary tradeable financial instruments which certify the purchase of a specific amount of electricity that has been generated from a clean energy source such as solar or nuclear energy. Once that energy is fed into the grid, the certificates can be traded as credits to claim the environmental and social benefits of low-carbon energy consumption.

"With heightened alerts about the impacts of climate change and an increased commitment to environment protection by customers and major companies who want their practices to reflect their social responsibility, our Clean Energy Certificates offering is timely and will support end-users in their sustainability goals," Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi DoE Mohamed Bin Jarsh Al Falasi said. The policy "will support 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," he added.

The Clean Energy Certificates scheme is based on the internationally recognised attribute tracking system for renewable energy certificates developed by the International Renewable Energy Certificate Standard Foundation (I-REC Standard). Four key "enablers" will be involved in implementing the scheme: DoE, as the formally accredited and authorised issuer of certificates; I-REC Standard, as provider of a single central registry platform, the I-REC Registry, where records of the full life cycle of ownership and use of the issued certificates are to be held and maintained; the Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), as the single registrant for electricity entering the grid from DoE-licensed generation entities; and the participants, businesses or consumers who may set up an account on the I-REC Registry platform.

The DoE will issue certificates in units of 1 MWh, and EWEC will facilitate offering the accredited certificates for sale on a quarterly basis.

To ensure a "non-discriminatory approach", anyone can act as a participant and can purchase the certificates and sell them in whole or in part to end customers, the DoE said. "This allows anyone, from large corporations to smaller environmentally conscious businesses, to benefit from the system, regardless of their level of consumption. Anyone can buy certificates that guarantee that the electricity they consume does not emit CO2." The DoE said it will not charge a fee for acting as a local issuer, which will allow customers to benefit from the certificates "at very competitive prices".

The UAE's Barakah nuclear power plant, the first two units of which are now in operation, is located in Abu Dhabi. EWEC has agreed to purchase all electricity generated at the plant for the next 60 years under a power purchase agreement signed in 2016.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News