2017 was a good year for RECs around the globe. The traditionally strong markets of Europe and North America prospered while recent adopters such as China increased in importance.In the US, after a slow 2016 when the supply of certificates outstripped demand, the renewable energy market saw healthy growth.
In Europe, demand for renewable energy credits, known as 'Guarantees of Origin' (GOs), has risen by more than 80% between 2011 and 2016 and this momentum continued in 2017 as companies are gearing up their efforts to achieve their 2020 clean energy targets.
GOs are issued to power producers for each MWh of renewable energy generated, in the same way as RECs in the US, and they can be traded on the Leipzig-based European Energy Exchange (EEX).
But Marie Bluett, head of renewable portfolio management at South Pole Group, which once again took the titles of Best Trading Company and Best Advisory – Europe, notes that the momentum is global, not just European.
"We see two markets joining forces, the voluntary carbon world and the renewable energy world," Bluett says.
In the last year, there has been "tremendous growth in renewable energy solutions in Asia, Africa and South America," she adds.
In Asia, the most significant development was China's launch of a pilot national REC scheme in July. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said it was intended to incentivise further development of the renewable energy sector without government subsidies.
As in established RECs markets, the Chinese RECs, known as Green Certificates, will be used by suppliers of electricity to prove how much of their purchased power came from renewable sources, excluding hydro.
Bluett says: "China has been super interesting. On the one hand you have the international RECs, but then you have the Chinese government looking to implement its own certificate scheme.
"The more governments get involved in renewable energy tracking, the more solid the market will become."
This article has been edited for length. Read the original article on Environmental Finance.