E-TRACK: Where does network electricity come from?


Öko-Institut, together with ten international energy institutions, has published recommendations for a European system of electricity disclosure. In the final report of the E-TRACK project, the institutions suggest ways to standardize tracking of where the power that is fed into Europe’s electricity networks comes from. E-TRACK proposes a coordinated and consistent system in which the way electricity is generated is characterized by particular “attributes of power generation”. These attributes relate, for example, to the source of fuel used, the emissions produced in generating the energy, and any public support obtained.

This information can be used for the purposes of complying with the Europe-wide requirement for electricity disclosure. As a result, there will be greater transparency for consumers to decide which electricity they wish to use. Up to now, besides the European Energy Certificate System (EECS), which is the only standardized certification system for electricity in Europe, there have only been national guarantees of origin for renewable energy sources, or private labelling schemes for “green energy”. The coexistence of parallel systems can result in errors and double counting, especially of electricity from renewable sources. E-TRACK proposes to build on the EECS and, sooner or later, integrate existing systems into the new standard. Two options will exist, with energy suppliers being able to choose freely between them. The first will be the standardized system, in which every unit of energy will have a guarantee of origin. This system operates on the basis of an electronic certificate registry, providing a sound and unambiguous means of accounting for electricity attributes. The second option will be the “residual mix” for energy sources that cannot be matched with a guarantee of origin. Energy retailers can use this option to disclose to consumers energy attributes based on a statistical mix of the overall power generated, for example in a geographical region. This mix is corrected, however, to take account of attributes included in the guarantees of origin already issued, and energy imports and exports. The annual cost to the average European household of having such a reliable system of accounting for energy attributes is expected to be less than 40 cents a year. For consumers who want to do something for the environment, the Öko-Institut makes the following recommendations: use electricity as efficiently as possible and choose a certified green power product, for example, one that carries the “ok-power” label. The E-TRACK project was supported by the European Commission through the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme.

The study can be downloaded free of charge here >>


Christof Timpe
Öko-Institut e.V., Freiburg Office
E-Mail Contact

Further information is available from the project website: