Guarantees of origin
A guarantee of origin (GO) provides proof that a renewable electricity generator is producing renewable energy and injecting it into the public grid.
Article 15 of Directive 2009/28/EC provides that guarantees of origin must contain the following information so that they can unequivocally confirm origin and quality of the electricity generated:
- The amount of power injected into the public grid;
- The primary source of the energy;
- Beginning and end of the generation period;
- Whether it relates to electricity; or heating or cooling;
- The identity, location, type and capacity of the installation where the energy was produced;
- The type and amount of support payments received;
- The date of commissioning of the plant;
- The date and country of issue and a unique identification number.
GOs are issued by the network operators, which usually use E-Control's GO database and register the amounts of electricity produced in green electricity plants. The Austrian green power settlement responsible OeMAG is responsible for registering the subsidised amounts of green electricity it takes off in the E-Control GO database.
Renewable electricity can only be sold as such if a guarantee of origin is transferred to the buyer. Under the labelling system, the GO is cancelled as soon as the electricity is delivered to the consumer (see section 8(4) Ökostromgesetz (Green Electricity Act) and section 79 Elektrizitätswirtschafts- und -organisationsgesetz (Electricity Act)).
With redeeming the GO for labelling, the GO's life cycle comes to an end at the consumer's, who is thus enabled to choose their supplier not only on the basis of economic but also environmental criteria.
Electricity without GO is considered "electricity of unknown origin - ENTSO-E mix". The ENTSO-E mix is the average energy mix of the transmission network operators associated in the ENTSO-E grid. In 2012, this mix was made up of 16.76% hydropower, 46.14% fossil fuels, 25.80% nuclear energy, 10.95% other renewable energies and 0.35% other energy sources.