How do countries trade with excess electricity

panorama : The trick with green electricity Like consumers

Berlin - The method of some German electricity providers to label nuclear power as green electricity has met with fierce criticism. "The system is a sham," said Robert Werner, the head of Greenpeace Energy, the green electricity provider of the environmental organization Greenpeace. “Customers believe they are paying for clean energy from renewable sources. In fact, most of their money ends up with the operators of coal and nuclear power plants, ”said Werner.

Consumers who have switched to green electricity generally have the idea that with their decision they are contributing to the fact that the group produces more green electricity and has to invest more in this sector. That can be a fallacy. There is a loophole: Norway almost exclusively produces green electricity from hydropower - much more than the country needs itself. In return, it receives a corresponding number of so-called "Recs" certificates. "Recs" stands for "Renewable Certificate System", in German for example: "Certification system for renewable energies". These certificates prove that Norway produces a certain - very large - amount of green electricity. The "Recs" certificates are freely tradable. Since Norway sells surplus electricity as normal electricity to other Scandinavian countries, the "Recs" certificates can also be turned into money by selling them to German electricity providers. Such providers buy these virtual certificates at a ridiculous price of around 0.05 cents per kilowatt hour. With a “Recs” certificate, one kilowatt hour from a nuclear power plant can then be offered as green electricity. The kilowatt hour from the nuclear power plant costs about 6 cents. That can then be sold as expensive green electricity because the consumer thinks that green electricity is more expensive - just as organic food is more expensive. With this system, however, the provider is not at all encouraged to invest in green electricity. The consumer's money ends up in the nuclear or coal-fired power station. At most, it is a hidden price increase.

The trade in "Recs" certificates has gained tremendous momentum in the last few months, says Marcel Keiffenheim, spokesman for Greenpeace Energy. The background to this is that more and more consumers are switching to “green electricity” and are willing to pay more money for it. os

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