On 3 August 2023, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Finance (MOF), and the National Energy Administration (NEA) issued a notice on expanding the coverage of green electricity certificates (GEC) to promote renewable electricity consumption (hereafter referred to as the “Notice”). The Notice clarifies the administration, issuance, and transaction of GEC and aims at using GEC to facilitate renewable energy development and support China’s dual carbon targets.
The Notice states that GEC are the only instrument to verify renewable electricity generation and consumption, and that they are the only proof of the environmental premium of renewable energy electricity. GECs can be used to count and identify renewable energy electricity consumption, with one GEC equalling 1 MWh of renewable electricity generation.
The notice extends the coverage of GEC to all types of renewable power sources from previously centralized wind and solar power only. As a result, the scope of GEC issuance now includes wind power (including distributed wind power and offshore wind power), solar power (including distributed solar PV and centralized solar PV), conventional hydropower, biomass power, geothermal power, and ocean energy power generation. Except for some existing conventional hydropower projects, all GEC issued for fed-in electricity generated by renewable energy power projects can be traded. Conventional hydropower projects in operation from 1 January 2023 with full marketization can also be traded. NEA oversees the GEC administration.
There are three platforms for GEC trading: www.greenenergy.org.cn, Beijing Power Exchange Center and Guangzhou Power Exchange Center. Currently, a tradable GEC can only be sold once. GEC transactions are conducted through bilateral negotiation, listing, and centralised bidding. GEC from projects enjoying central government subsidies will be mainly traded through bilateral negotiation and listing in the initial period. However, conditions will be created to promote centralised bidding. Subsidy-free projects can trade GEC through bilateral negotiation, listing, and centralised bidding, and the proceeds belong to the power generation enterprise or project owner.
The Notice specifies how GEC are to be used and how their application will be further developed in the future:
- Green electricity consumption should go along with GEC transactions, with the amount of GEC, physical electricity transacted, and transaction price clarified in the contract.
- GEC should be used in calculating renewable energy consumption, which will be excluded from the total energy consumption amount and energy consumption intensity control mechanism.
- Standards, mechanisms, and a marking system for green electricity consumption certificates on GEC basis will be established.
- Linkages between GEC and China’s national ETS as well as China Certified Emission Reductions (CCER) will be further examined.
- The international recognition of GEC will be promoted to connect China’s renewable energy consumption with international carbon reduction policies and mechanisms.
The Notice provides the foundation for future renewable energy development and integration in China.