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Behind your low carbon electricity: How do renewable energy certificates work?

With more and more businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint, companies are taking positive steps forward to meet the government’s “net zero by 2050” target. For many companies, the simplest way to start your reduction is buying your energy from renewable sources.

To do so, you can choose a renewable electricity supply, backed by Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificates. These are an example of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) which guarantee that your supplier will source your electricity from renewable generation.

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What’s a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC)?

Watch our short animation to understand what RECs are, and how they can mitigate carbon emissions associated with your business.

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How do REGOs work?

For every megawatt hour (MWh) generated from renewable sources, Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets - the body that regulates suppliers in the UK) will issue a REGO certificate. This certificate authenticates to the consumer that renewable sources produced that portion of energy.

At the end of the financial year, all REGOs issued will be listed in the Ofgem Renewable and CHP Register allocated to the supplier that held them at that point.

Benefits for your business

  • Zero carbon emissions reportable within your power supply – if your power is 100% renewable, then your business can report zero carbon emissions under Scope 2 of the GHG protocol market-based method related to its purchased electricity
  • Clearly demonstrate your sustainability efforts to customers – with the Ofgem register being freely available, the public can see the listing of the supplier you purchased them from. Whilst they won’t have your organisation’s name listed explicitly, these can then be traced back to your business.

By taking advantage of purchasing a REGO-backed supply, it increases your environmental credentials whilst providing you peace of mind that your energy is being sourced from renewable sources. This is one of the cheaper ways you can further your carbon reduction initiatives and doesn’t require you to change your business operations or infrastructure.

How to make sure your electricity supplier isn’t greenwashing your power

The REGO scheme was put in place to increase accountability and transparency for renewable electricity generation. Being able to track where electricity comes from enables customers to make more informed decisions based on their business needs.

The average fuel mix for all UK suppliers is just 40% renewable
(Apr 2022-March 2023).

How can you be sure your power is truly renewable?

  1. Check the terms of your power product. If you don’t want to support power from fossil fuel sources, you want to ensure you’re choosing renewable source electricity. Some suppliers require you to select renewable power via a certain product or contract (meaning they could talk about renewable power a lot in their advertising, but still sell you a majority non-renewable contract if you haven’t specified what you want).

  2. Check your supplier’s Fuel Mix Disclosure (FMD). All suppliers are required to disclose the mix of fuels used to generate the electricity they supply. If a supplier is buying lots of non-renewable power, therefore supporting fossil fuels, this would have to be disclosed on the FMD.

    * Note that they might be buying the right amount of renewable power to cover your product, however their FMD might reflect that the supplier is also providing ‘conventional’ power to other customers, thus not having a renewable source FMD.

  3. See if your supplier has any independent accreditations verifying its renewable power products. These accreditations can be awarded by third parties that audit renewable products against international standards such as the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol.

At Drax, customers can get renewable source electricity. Check out our Fuel Mix Disclosure to see where our power comes from.

You can find out more about Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) by clicking the button below.

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