New energy certification label launched to unlock finance for renewable generation capacity

Businesses can now rest assured that the renewable electricity they are sourcing will assist the transition away from aging fossil infrastructure, through the launch of a new energy label certification that will finance the expansion of new generation capacity and devices.

Gold Standard – the standard and certification body set up by the WWF to catalyse action on climate change – unveiled the Renewable Energy Label in Switzerland. With a large portion of renewable electricity generated in power plants running for several decades, the new label will assure purchasers that their electricity supports investment into new energy generation capacity.

“Some renewable power stations in use today are a century old,” Gold Standard’s chief executive Marion Verles said. “While all green energy is good, we want our new certification scheme to drive the global transition away from fossil fuels by funding new sources of renewable energy.

“Added to this, our label assures buyers that the projects they support are delivering long-term sustainable development benefits, for example by creating new jobs, providing access to safe water or protecting local biodiversity.”

According to the Gold Standard, current purchased renewable energy and their issued certificates do not increase the overage amount of electricity generated by renewable sources. Instead, the renewable electricity is sourced from old power plant infrastructure that ultimately needs to be switched off from the grid.

The new label will insure the renewable electricity is sourced from power generators and devices under a strict age limit. Certification will also ensure that sourcing renewable energy puts each business and government on course to contribute to Goal 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – climate action.

The Renewable Energy Label was developed as part of the Gold Standard for the Global Goals, the recently-launched standard to quantify, certify and maximise the business contributions to the development of the SDGs.

Siam Solar project

One of the first projects to seek certification under the new Gold Standard Renewable Energy Label was the South Pole Group’s Siam Solar Project in Thailand. It has created 70 jobs for skilled and unskilled workers and provides more than 64,000 people in the country with clean energy. The project also prevents nearly 80,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

The South Pole Group’s chief executive Renat Heuberger said: “More and more leading companies procure renewable energy. And even more want to enable true environmental impacts and social co-benefits with their renewable energy procurement, in line with the Global Goals.

“Supporting the development of the Gold Standard Renewable Energy Label was an exciting journey – now we are pleased to bring it to market for our clients looking to increase the impact of their renewable energy purchase.”

Financial services are also keen to help with the delivery of the global goals. Earlier this year, the World Bank issued its first ever set of green bonds that directly link financial returns to companies performing to the standards and aims on the SDGs.

RE100 and Gold Standard will co-host a webinar next week (5 October) to introduce the new label to discuss why it was needed, and what is different about it compared to current market labels.

Matt Mace

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