With electricity generation from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, set to grow exponentially in the Sultanate in line with the government’s ambitious energy transition goals, a local Omani firm has been accredited by an international body to issue ‘Renewable Energy Certificates (I-RECs)’ that help validate a producer’s claim that their energy output indeed comes from carbon-free sources.
Well-known Omani energy services specialist Three Pillars Consulting (TPC) has been named by the Netherlands-based International REC Standard Foundation, which administers the world’s leading certification programme for renewable energy, as the local issuer of I-RECs for the Omani market.
An agreement to this effect was signed by Dr Michael Tsang, Founder of Three Pillars Consulting, with Jared Braslawsky, Secretary General of the I-REC Standard Foundation.
As the accredited issuer of I-RECs in the Sultanate, TPC will also help support and implement the development of a renewable energy tracking system to track the ownership of renewable generation throughout the country.
I-RECs can be effectively monetised by renewable energy producers to create secondary revenue streams in a market where some customers, eager to burnish their environmental credentials, are increasingly willing to pay a premium for sustainable electricity supply. Moreover, I-RECs are key to validating commitments made by businesses and organisations towards climate mitigation goals.
Speaking to Observer, Dr Tsang explained that Renewable Energy Certificates (sometimes referred to as Energy Attribute Certificates (EAC)) make it possible to link ownership rights of electricity from the place of production to the place of consumption.
“I-RECs are a powerful tool because they allow end-users and energy consumers to make a reliable and meaningful claim that they are consuming clean, carbon-free, renewable energy. Consequently, they can provide a secondary revenue stream for renewable energy producers, allowing them to generate additional revenue from their renewable energy production, strengthening the market conditions and supporting the development of these in-demand projects over time.”
The I-REC Standard Foundation, a non-profit organisation, promotes an internationally recognised and standardised methodology for the creation of I-REC systems and implements this system with the support of local governments and stakeholders in countries across the globe, said Tsang.
The appointment of a local I-REC issuer in the Sultanate comes against a backdrop of important developments in the country’s renewable energy space. Over the past two years, Oman has witnessed the launch of the region’s first wind farm – a 50MW capacity scheme in Dhofar, as well as a 100 MW solar PV project at Amin in the south of Petroleum Development Oman’s (PDO) Block 6 concession. Soon, a 500 MW solar PV scheme – the biggest in the country to date – will come on stream in Al Dhahirah Governorate as well. And with Oman committed to secure a third of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2030, major investments in solar and wind capacity are anticipated in the coming years too.
According to Dr Tsang, the I-RECs will help distinguish between carbon-free output and supply from fossil fuels like natural gas which get mixed once they enter the national grid. “Without any way to track renewable energy-based output, it is not possible for any single user to claim they are consuming carbon-free energy supplied through the grid. I-RECs make it possible for companies to claim that their consumption is 100 per cent carbon-free,” he stressed.
Jared Braslawsky, Secretary General of the I-REC Standard Foundation, stated: “Our standard allows for robust, transparent, and reliable implementation of I-REC systems that adhere to international best practices and end-user expectations. With this system, generators can retain the highest possible value for their renewable energy generation and support for demand-driven growth for renewables in Oman and around the world.”
Muscat-based TPC provides advisory services to public and private sector organisations in the formulation of policies related to material conservation, energy efficiency and carbon management, in addition to developing software for sustainability reporting, and helping projects register carbon credits, renewable energy certificates and green building certification.