Green CertificatesGreen certificate trading schemes aim to promote the cost-effective use of renewable energy. Such schemes enabling energy-users located far from sources of renewable energy to effectively purchase green electricity in the form of certificates, thus avoiding any need for the inefficient long-distance transmission of electricity. Also known as renewable energy certificates (RECs), green certificates prove that certain amounts of electricity (typically one megawatt-hour per certificate) have been generated using renewable energy sources.
Promoting the use of renewable energyUsing more renewable energy can greatly help to reduce harmful emissions and improve the reliability of the energy supply, but under present market conditions many forms of renewable energy are uncompetitive in comparison to fossil fuels, so special support and incentives are often needed to increase their use. Such instruments include favourable taxation, investment subsidies and other direct support.
Greene certificate schemes create a separate market for trading in the added value created when electricity is produced from renewable energy sources – distinct from the conventional electricity markets where “grey electricity”, produced from a wide range of energy sources, is purchased directly from local power grids.
Voluntary green electricity schemes for consumersIn Finland trading in green certificates is conducted on a voluntary basis. Industrial, commercial, public sector or private energy-users who wish to support the production of electricity from renewable sources may purchase green certificates from trading markets, or sign voluntary agreements to buy their electricity through green electricity schemes.
Such schemes are widely run by Finnish energy companies with backing from environmental organisations. Many of the most popular schemes are covered by the Ekoenergia labelling scheme (formerly known as Norppaenergia), which is run by the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.