Disclosure: guarantees of origin

In order to provide consumers with information on the origin of their electricity consumption, the Flemish Energy Regulator (VREG) publishes a yearly Fuelmix Report.

With this information, the online Origin Comparator enables consumers to compare the origin of electricity per supplier and per electricity product. For electricity, details are provided on the country of origin and the type of renewable energy source.

Consumers wishing to verify whether or not their electricity truly originates from renewable energy sources, are invited to perform the Greencheck (only available in Dutch).

Since it is physically impossible to trace the origin of the consumed electricity at the point of consumption, a system of guarantees of origin was created as a reliable parallel with the physical electricity flows.

What is a Guarantee of Origin?

Guarantees of Origin (GOs) are the instrument to prove the origin of electricity so as to provide electricity customers information on the renewable sources of the electricity they use.

They are issued in an internet based electronic database to electricity producers, per MWh of production of electricity from renewable resources. They are the only tool to be used to prove the origin of the produced and supplied amount of electricity.

Suppliers may only refer to the electricity they supply in Flanders as ‘electricity from renewable energy sources’ in case they have cancelled an identical amount of guarantees of origin in evidence thereof.

This means the GOs are taken out of circulation and destroyed, so that the same amount of electricity cannot be sold a second time as 'green'. Hence, GOs are the instrument to make green power contracts reliable.

A guarantee of origin is only allowed to be used once and cannot be copied.

Issuing of GOs

Producers who wish to apply for GOs must submit an application to the Flemish Energy Agency ( VEA ), which shall verify the application’s accuracy and completeness and then execute the procedures required for obtaining the related measurement data on a monthly basis.

GO’s are issued by the VREG based on the data provided by the VEA. GOs are issued in an internet based trading platform for which every producer and trader must obtain an account. A request to obtain such an account has to be submitted to the VREG.
In order to prevent fraud, the VREG passes on the information of the account holders to the Belgian tax authority (BBI).

GOs issued by the VREG for electricity from renewable resources that is injected to the grid in Flanders, comply with the EECS Rules of the AIB, and follow the EECS GO standard. Details of the EECS GO system in Flanders are to be found in the Domain Protocol for Flanders.

Trading of GOs

GOs can be traded through 2 mechanisms:

  • between account holders in the VREG certificate database
  • with account holders in other certificate databases in the EECS system, as the VREG certificate database is connected with the AIB hub.

Cancelling of GOs

In Flanders GOs can be validated by electricity suppliers. By cancelling GOs, a supplier proves to his customers that the corresponding amount of electricity originated from renewable resources. In order to connect the correct amount of GOs to the amount of promised green electricity, the Green Reporting procedure is followed.

Green Reporting Procedure

In this procedure the supplier monthly reports the VREG a list of (EAN codes of) his consumers of green electricity and the percentage of green electricity each consumer is promised. The grid operators complement this list with the consumption of every consumer mentioned in the list. Based on the aggregated volume of green electricity promised by every supplier, the VREG Green Reporting Tool calculates the amount of GO’s a supplier has to cancel. If a supplier does not cancel enough GOs, this will appear in the Green Check.

Green Check

The Greencheck is a tool on the VREG website where an individual consumer in Flanders can check whether his supplier has cancelled the necessary amount of GOs to cover his individual consumption of electricity from renewable resources. In order to conduct this check, the consumer only needs to fill in his or her EAN Code.

Expiry of GOs

GOs must be used within 12 months after the production period, in order to avoid expiry.

(The only exception on the expiry date is when for a reason outside the control of the producer, the guarantees of origin are issued more than 6 months after the end of the production period. In that case they are valid for 6 months after the issuing date.)

A GO thus always has a clearly defined end-of-life, either at cancelation, or at expiry.

Legislation on Guarantees of Origin in Flanders

Unofficial English translation of the Flemish legislation setting out the framework for the GO-system in Flanders