Insights from the very first global I-REC Standard conference
I-REC Standard, the international renewable energy standard, recently held its first conference in Thailand. We were privileged to attend the event and hear insights from renewable energy market participants from around the world. We interviewed CerQlar Account Executive, Konstantinos Sklavenitis, and he shared some of the most powerful insights from the I-REC Standard Conference 2022.
Before we dive into the insights – what is I-REC Standard?
K: I-REC is the international energy attribute tracking standard that offers renewable energy traders, buyers, consumers, and other market participants a single, standardized solution to track and regulate renewable energy consumption across the globe. Furthermore, i-REC complies with renewable energy consumption and reporting guidelines set by CDP, the GreenHouse Protocol, and initiatives such as RE100.
Operating under a single standard makes it easier for the global Energy Attribute Certificate (EAC) market to grow. New countries can accelerate the introduction of iREC certificates in their respective markets by simply replicating the existing issuing protocol. This provides renewable energy investors and consumers in developing markets with elevated investment transparency and a tracking system they can trust.
I-REC Standard currently has 19 issuers supporting close to 55 countries worldwide, including Bangkok, Thailand, and Brazil, and it just held its first conference, the I-REC Standard Conference 2022, bringing market participants from around the globe together to share market insights and encourage future market growth and cooperation.
What does the I-REC Standard’s first conference mean for the global renewable energy certificate market?
K: The first and most important point is that this conference reveals how much the global renewable energy certificate market has grown and continues to grow, with newly-established issuers and countries coming online every month. The conference’s goal is to bring together market participants worldwide, giving them the opportunity to network – and most participants would agree it succeeded.
The conference included attendees from South-East Asia, South and Central America, the Middle East, and an African representative. Close to global participation helped emphasize the role I-REC will play in making green energy a viable solution around the world and revealed how many countries see renewable energy as a means to furthering green initiatives.
The conference was dedicated to all market participants, including lawmakers, regulators, and market operators in developing markets and will likely solidify the I-REC Standard and its adoption around the globe and support countries in the process of adoption.
How will I-REC Standard support market growth?
K: A large number of factors, including new ESG reporting requirements, 24/7 renewable energy tracking, CBAM (carbon tax adjustment mechanism), and other shifts in the energy markets, have made the renewable energy market larger and more intricate than ever before.
The expansion of renewable energy to include fuels and gasses such as hydrogen and ammonia has added to this complexity. Sudden innovations and accelerated growth mean that the market is in urgent need of further standardization and energy supply chain transparency.
Having a reliable source of energy attribute certificate data is the key to making future growth and initiatives possible. For example, the market integration initiative in the ASEAN activity has increased grid connectivity projects between countries, and this wouldn’t be possible without standards to regulate certificates and trading. Other market growth initiatives in Africa and LATAM similarly rely on market standardization.
As the number of certificates and the data that comes with them increase, the demand for technological innovation to effectively manage market growth will also increase. I-REC Standard offers a single, standardized source that all EAC market participants can turn to, making increased growth in the future a possibility.
How will standardization increase market growth?
K: All the growth initiatives mentioned in the previous question rely on market participants having access to a standardized renewable energy certificate and supply chain transparency. But standard certificates aren’t the only standardization method required to increase market growth. This conference gave I-REC the opportunity to introduce its first standard trade contract, designed in collaboration with DLA Piper.
This is another great step towards standardizing the market and how EAC traders, buyers, and consumers operate, making the market more accessible to developing markets.
Contracts are just one part of the new standard for business operations in the EAC market.
Solutions like the CerQlar platform also provide market participants with a standard for conducting business by capturing trades and automatically generating contracts that set the standard of market participant interaction across the entire industry. Standardizing the EAC market and the way participants do business creates new opportunities and allows for further growth.
How can market participants begin implementing business standardization?
K: The standardization and supply chain transparency required to support EAC market growth relies on data exchange. Each EAC generates data, and the broader and more complex trades become, the more data is generated. Increased data can make it more challenging to implement standardization or support market growth – especially without the right solutions.
When the market was in its infancy, market participants could rely on using their own methods to manually store and maintain data. But as the market grows and standardization becomes a higher priority, a solution that can meet market participants’ needs and keep up with current and future market growth is essential.
Solutions such as CerQlar allow EAC buyers and sellers to make data standardization and transparency the foundation of their process throughout the trade lifecycle. CerQlar offers trade templates with automated data capture and includes advanced data management and capturing features that allow market participants to plan future trades and manage market growth.
How can registries and standards such as I-REC Standard continue to support future trading?
K: I-REC Standard is one of the ideal examples of a renewable energy market tool that has built innovation into its foundation. The current EAC market is growing at a pace market participants can barely keep up with, and the only solution to maintaining trades at their current scope is technological innovations to support larger and more complex trades and manage increasing amounts of data.
I-REC Standard works purely through Evident, an API-powered issuer, meaning that the registry already has API integration at the heart of its architecture, promoting operational transparency, reducing risks, and making it possible for EAC market participants to integrate tools such as CerQlar into their trading, regardless of technological capability. As Ed Everson, Evident’s CEO, shared at a pre-conference presentation, “API architecture enables innovation and supports a vibrant community of solution providers.”
With technological solutions such as CerQlar in place to manage trade processing, inventory management, and other complex aspects of the trade process, EAC market participants are free to scale their trading without becoming overwhelmed.