United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Call for european rules

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An independent badge of approval for green pricing schemes will be vital to gain customer confidence -- so believe all the companies planning renewable energy tariffs in Britain. And a widely recognised and respected auditing and certification system should also let consumers know what they are buying.

Work is already underway by several organisations towards an accreditation scheme for the UK. One of these is the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which has already been involved with auditing South Western Electricity's Green Electron tariff. Merylyn Mackenzie Hedger from the WWF says there are still issues to be confronted -- such as what technologies or projects can be called green. Energy from waste could be excluded, as could schemes that attract local opposition. "We need to have some site specific criteria," she says.

Another issue is whether "green" should automatically mean "new" . Hedger explains that unless a green scheme provides for new capacity, the consumer is merely buying from the pool of existing renewables, making other electricity users "browner" as they rely more on dirtier sources.

Any certification system should be able to be applied across Europe, believes Teresa Anderson from Intermediate Technology (IT). For more than a year IT has worked on renewable energy labelling with its eyes on the European single market. "We are very much aware of the urgency of the situation in the UK and the need to get something on the table very quickly," says Anderson. "But we are concerned that the UK does not box itself in." She points out that work on renewables certification is also going on in other parts of Europe and California. "It is important that we share what we are doing so that we do not reinvent the wheel," she says.

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