I-REC Standard interview with Adam White, the new Secretary-General of RECS International

Jul 15, 2021

RECS International is involved with the support and development of EAC markets around the world. Adam White, the new Secretary-General of RECS International has provided some interesting insight into RECS International, as well as their current projects and future plans.

Tell us about how you got started with RECS International?

I started with RECS International when Jared Braslawsky, the former Secretary-General, contacted me in the Summer of 2018 to ask if I would be interested to join the organisation as Director. I didn’t know Jared at the time – he’d been given my name by a mutual contact who knew Jared was looking to grow RECS International. I had also never heard of EACs back then and I had to learn quite a bit before deciding whether to join the team. And I’m really glad I did! I’m convinced that consumer demand for renewable energy can help to accelerate the energy transition.

what projects are you most proud of or had the greatest impact in EAC markets around the world?

I think the things I am most happy about so far are the connections I have made with the RECS International members and partner organisations and how much I have learnt from them. As I said, at the start I knew very little about EAC markets, and now I am proud to be included in a vibrant group of experts working hard to give consumers the knowledge, motivation, and confidence needed to buy 100% renewable energy. The main project we have faced is the implementation of the latest EU law, the Renewable Energy Directive from 2018 which extended the requirement to issue Guarantees of Origin (GOs – the EU’s EACs) from electricity to all renewable energy. This implementation has also included the development of the European standard on GOs which has been really challenging – but we continue to make progress.

What does the new role of Secretary-General mean for you and for RECS International?

Well, just as we were implementing the 2018 Renewable Energy Directive the EU decided it needed to raise its climate ambition and increase its targets for cutting emissions by 2030 and 2050. To do this, all of the relevant EU climate and Energy law has been reviewed and on the 14th of July, the European Commission published the first draft of these laws, including a new Renewable Energy Directive. Over the next year or so this draft will be debated in the European Parliament and the European Council before the three institutions come back together to agree on a final version. During this time, RECS International will be calling for measures that support consumer demand, including consideration of compliance markets, support for full disclosure, common rules in all EU Member States MS on the treatment of GOs, and more. It’s really exciting to take on the role of RECS International Secretary-General at a key moment in the development of one of the world’s leading EAC schemes.

RECS International and the International REC Standard Foundation are occasionally confused with one another. Can you define the relationship between the two organizations?

Yes – I’d be happy to! The founders of RECS International created the first EAC system back in the late 1990s. Although these first “RECS” systems, as they were called, no longer exist, they provided the foundation for what was to become a Europe-wide system for reliably tracking electricity attributes: the Guarantee of Origin system. RECS International started by supporting both the system and the market for GOs, but soon those involved realised that this work should be split. So, the Association of Issuing Bodies was set up to support the system operators and RECS International continued to represent the users of GOs – producers, market facilitators, and consumers. After success in the EU, with GOs being adopted into European law and the market continuing to grow. The founders of RECS International wanted to take the lessons they had learnt in Europe and offer an EAC scheme for all other countries (not including North America which has its own schemes). As so they set up the International REC Standard Foundation – which supports and Accredits the I-REC scheme for electricity. Some of the confusion between the two came from the fact that Jared Braslawsky was the Secretary-General of both organisations. But by stepping back in his role at RECS International, Jared will be able to dedicate more time to the I-REC Standard. I have large shoes to fill and I look forward to the challenge!

A large part of working at RECS International is making connections with local stakeholders. What sort of developments have you seen from stakeholders’ interests in the last five years? How have these developments impacted the EAC markets over the last few years?

As I mentioned I have only been at RECS International since late 2018, but I’ve been really impressed by the pace of change in that time and how much the interest in EACs has grown. I think this is driven by two forces, one positive and one negative. On the positive side, we see more and more corporates interested in buying renewable energy as part of their efforts to minimise their impact on the environment. On the negative side, we see some media interest in concerns that domestic suppliers are greenwashing the electricity they are selling with certificates. By supporting the former and alleviating the concerns of the latter we can continue to increase demand for renewable energy which has grown strongly year on year.

Do you have any predictions on the way things will be headed for EAC market based on these developments?

I am confident that demand will continue to grow. More and more households are becoming increasingly concerned about the impacts of climate change that they are already seeing and want to contribute to cutting emissions by using renewable energy. More and more corporate consumers are also going 100% renewable not only for their own energy use but also making it a requirement for their supplier chains – which should be another important demand driver. I’m also confident that as consumer demand for renewable energy grows, legislators and regulators will put supporting it more and more.

Are there any upcoming projects or events with RECS International?

The biggest upcoming project is the development of the new EU legislation on GOs. And the biggest event is the next REC Market Meeting on the 30th of November and 1st of December (REC Market Meeting 2021), which is supported by The International REC Standard Foundation. Other interesting projects are the development of EACs that have more detail about when the energy was produced and matching production and consumption on a 24/7 basis.

How can interested parties get in contact with RECS International?

Our website is www.recs.org and has contact details. We’re also on Twitter and LinkedIn. Or anyone can contact me directly at a.white@recs.org.