REGO's


Does the energy you purchase come attached to REGO's or do you buy on the secondary market?

27 replies

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hi GreenyGreen
PP use REGOs
(HERE is a link for those interested in what REGOs are)
I don't know enough to know if they buy on the secondary market too, perhaps someone at PP will know if they do.
​If you reply perhaps you could expand your question and with more info on why you asked?
There is more information in a post HERE which may lead you in the direction you seek (although I don't know your reason for asking so perhaps it wont?) and also HERE
The point is that many companies offering 100% renewable tariffs are buying the cheapest brown power and buying very cheap REGO's on the secondary market at the end of the year. These REGO's are dumped by big companies like SSE that buy the cheapest power that may be wind or solar but their customers are not interested in whether the power is renewable so they can sell the certificates on at a very cheap price. The point is that when we ask for 100% renewable tariffs we hope to incentivise more renewables.

- - - Updated - - -

This web page explains clearly what I have said above and the reason for my question.

https://www.regen.co.uk/we-need-to-talk-about-green-energy-tariffs/

and here too:

https://www.goodenergy.co.uk/blog/2018/03/15/renewable-energy-and-why-it-isn-t-easy-being-green/
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hi Greeny and @Marc @Nataly

Thanks for the reply, and for the very interesting links.
Given your reasons I think the topic deserves a response from someone at PP if only to reassure you.


GreenyGreen;27628:
The point is that many companies offering 100% renewable tariffs are buying the cheapest brown power and buying very cheap REGO's on the secondary market at the end of the year. These REGO's are dumped by big companies like SSE that buy the cheapest power that may be wind or solar but their customers are not interested in whether the power is renewable so they can sell the certificates on at a very cheap price. The point is that when we ask for 100% renewable tariffs we hope to incentivise more renewables.

- - - Updated - - -

This web page explains clearly what I have said above and the reason for my question.

https://www.regen.co.uk/we-need-to-talk-about-green-energy-tariffs/

and here too:

https://www.goodenergy.co.uk/blog/2018/03/15/renewable-energy-and-why-it-isn-t-easy-being-green/
Hi Woz

No answer on this one yet?

Here's another page explaining the background for my question:

https://www.goodenergy.co.uk/blog/2017/08/15/green-tariffs-and-regos/

It would be interesting to see how different companies' green tariffs compare on this issue but as a Pure Planet customer I'm asking the question here first.

Thank you
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I'm sure PP will respond in time...
In essence it (the secondary market) doesn't seem to look much different the whole Carbon Credit scam -sorry I meant scheme.
I can't however understand why a secondary market is allowed and surely an ethical company would't trade in secondary REGOs.?
Looked at from a different angle I'm unclear on how this works, surely a REGO can't exist unless somewhere in the generation system it marries to a pot of renewable energy. Is this saying that more REGOs than pots exist or is it that some who are truly providing renewable energy are not matching their supply to REGOs so excess REGOs exist hence the secondary market.?
It could also be argued that the regulator has set up their own money making scheme and it should be run by a fully independent organisation with the money going back into renewable generation.(does it?)
I'm afraid there are too many questions and (there is) not enough knowledge at this point....
If anyone else wants to chip in feel free
GreenyGreen;27679:
Hi Woz

No answer on this one yet?

Here's another page explaining the background for my question:

https://www.goodenergy.co.uk/blog/2017/08/15/green-tariffs-and-regos/

It would be interesting to see how different companies' green tariffs compare on this issue but as a Pure Planet customer I'm asking the question here first.

Thank you
Hi Woz

No answer on this one yet?

Here's another page explaining the background for my question:

https://www.goodenergy.co.uk/blog/2017/08/15/green-tariffs-and-regos/

It would be interesting to see how different companies' green tariffs compare on this issue but as a Pure Planet customer I'm asking the question here first.

Thank you
As a customer I choose a '100% renewable' electricity supplier because I want to incentivise more renewable energy production by buying from a company that only buys wind and solar (for example) with their attached REGO's.

Yes, the number of REGO's must match the amount of renewable electricity generated but a 'non-green' energy supply company can buy green electricity because it's cheapest at the time then sell on the associated REGO's as their customers aren't interested in how green their supply company is. A 'green' supply company can then purchase brown electricity and buy the unwanted REGO's cheap on the secondary market and thus claim their energy is backed by REGO's. So the customer is being mislead and their supposedly green supply company is not as green as supposed. So-called green electricity suppliers who aren't buying 100% directly REGO supported electricity don't seem to want to be transparent on this issue. I'm interested in how many companies are supplying truly 100% REGO linked electricity and is PP amongst them.
It's a bit like a supermarket buying organic tomatoes because they're cheapest at the time, selling them as ordinary tomatoes then selling the organic labels cheaply to another supermarket to stick on their more cheaply purchased at the time non-organic tomatoes. The amount of certified tomatoes matches the number of labels but the customer is being misled.
Hi @GreenyGreen

Fantastic thread, nice one for getting stuck in!
This is quite complex, but...... read on.

There are three ways to buy green electricity.
Method 1. In advance with a renewable producer. You agree a deal pay them for an amount of units that they put onto the grid on your behalf over a year.
Method 2. You community generate. Normally local co-ops, villages etc, who put renewables into the grid and again sell this to the wholesale market.
Method 3. You buy power from the wholesale market and match that after the fact with renewable power that has been put into the grid by renewable generators through certificates.

All 3 types are backed by REGOs.
And all are limited by a common factor - time of day and night.
In other words, it might be a calm day and no wind. Or it might be dark, such as at night time.
How do you then get energy?

Let’s say we have two energy suppliers, called A and B.

Supplier A buys 100MW of renewable energy directly from Farmer Giles for a year, and with it 100 REGOs.
Where does that energy go? Customers of Supplier A don’t get a special feed of energy from Farmer Giles’ field to their homes. It goes to the grid. And what do customers of Supplier A do at night when they want to use the loo and watch TV? They switch on the lights and the TV!
At that time their energy, which comes from the grid, is coming from all kinds of sources. (Right now the UK doesn’t have a battery capacity to store clean energy for cloudy calm days and nights).


Supplier B (which we at Pure Planet do) buys 100MW from the wholesale market and matches that at the end of the year with 100 REGOs, proving that we’re putting 100MW of renewable energy into the grid.
The difference is that the generator of renewable energy (whether that’s a load of Farmer GIles in fields around the English countryside or a massive windfarm in the North Sea) doesn’t have a direct relationship Supplier B. The owners of the fields or wind farms are trading directly with the wholesale market through brokers.

There’s nothing wrong with the method chosen by Supplier A. Both methods are about buying renewable power backed by REGOs and feeding it into the grid.
But the route that Supplier B is on means it can be done at scale.

As I’m sure you know, there are massive targets set by the Paris Agreement and the Government. The UK wants to be 50% powered by renewables by 2025.
That won’t be achieved by paying small farmers to add more solar panels to their fields (sounds patronising, not meant to be).

The argument that Supplier A uses is really an economic one - not a renewable ‘physics’ one. They argue that by committing to a particular (usually a smaller, local) generator in advance it is supporting the development of renewable generation. There is a small amount of truth in this. But the argument was far stronger 20 years ago when this up front commitment did indeed help small local farmers raise funds to finance the build of small scale wind farms.

Today the scale of renewable generation has changed dramatically. It has been industrialised.
It can be also now be argued that buying ‘after the fact’ is equally economically valid because it creates a dedicated green retail market - a consumer ‘pull’ - which in turn allows large scale producers to seek further finance (from big investment banks) for subsequent building of wind farms.
Renewable capacity now being built costs billions. Not a million or two.

It's not just demand from the Government legislation I mention above. Corporations are demanding action too - Apple the other day told its suppliers they need to be 100% renewable. There’s also - thankfully - more demand from people too, especially the younger generation who’ve recently been taking direct action.

Blimey I’ve been going on a bit.
Obviously we can’t comment on what other energy suppliers do (you mentioned SSE) and what other suppliers believe is the right approach (you’ve linked to Good Energy).

What is definitely true is that it’s complex!

Anyway I hope that’s helped clarify things a bit.

To recap:
REGOs can only be originated from genuine renewable power. It is therefore the same.
All power to people’s homes is from the grid at all times.
The reconciliation of this can be done before, during or after power is actually consumed by a customer met - so long as at the end of the year all your REGOs match the power bought for and used by consumers.
There is no direct cable from a lovely solar or wind farmer to people’s homes. So the supplier still has to draw off the grid at all times to keep our lights in at home, and then balance.
So are you saying that the difference between PP and a supplier not claiming to supply green electricity is that PP backs its claim by buying REGO's on the secondary market from other electricity supply companies at the end of the year?
Hi @GreenyGreen

Yes. As I outlined (but maybe didn't make perfectly clear, point taken) in my post above ☝️ is that PP uses Method 3 of buying REGOs.
You buy power from the wholesale market and match that after the fact with renewable power that has been put into the grid by renewable generators through certificates.

We want to accelerate the growth of renewable energy. Our mission is that 100% of the UK is powered by renewables, which is of course double the Government's target for 2025.
It's been described to me as a sort of 'stock exchange' of REGOs. You may be right that there are other, bigger energy suppliers who use it to dump their REGOs on smaller energy suppliers like PP, in order to tick their 'renewable' box. That's not PP's aim. Ours is to increase the % of renewables in the wholesale market because that's the market which has the scale to impact and reverse climate change.
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Boy, it’s complex 🙀🙀🙀🙀but boy you know your stuff Marc 👍👏👏👏👏👏👏👍
Bev;27753:
Boy, it’s complex but boy you know your stuff Marc

Not as much as I'd like to know @Bev ;)
But yes I'm trying to learn more as I go. People do Masters degrees and doctorates in this stuff!
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Wow. The knowledge people on this thread is incredible! I'm glad there are people clever enough to ask and answer these questions. Really informative thread and contributions. Thanks to all involved 👍
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Yes - I agree @The Thinker 😉
New to PP, awaiting switch over and joined due to 100% renewable. Starting looking around the app and found this thread. Great explanation @Marc for making a complicated process more understandable.
I understand that to supply us with continuous 24hr electricity you use the main grid some green some brown at that immediate moment. At the end of the year you ensure you have bought the correct number of REGOs for the amount of KWH you have supplied your customers ensuring all the energy sold has a certificate = 100% green energy. I hope I’ve understood correctly so far.
But something I don’t understand ..... if you buy REGOs from other suppliers then their balance of Green v brown supply is incorrectly reported? Scenario a company actually buys energy 70% green and 30% brown therefore receives the REGOs for 70%. then sells you 30% REGOs, this would make that company 40% green 60% brown. Under the reporting regulations would this company report it’s true usage OR
Can REGOs ever be double counted???? By both companies.
John2020;40113:
New to PP, awaiting switch over and joined due to 100% renewable. Starting looking around the app and found this thread. Great explanation @Marc for making a complicated process more understandable.
I understand that to supply us with continuous 24hr electricity you use the main grid some green some brown at that immediate moment. At the end of the year you ensure you have bought the correct number of REGOs for the amount of KWH you have supplied your customers ensuring all the energy sold has a certificate = 100% green energy. I hope I’ve understood correctly so far.
But something I don’t understand ..... if you buy REGOs from other suppliers then their balance of Green v brown supply is incorrectly reported? Scenario a company actually buys energy 70% green and 30% brown therefore receives the REGOs for 70%. then sells you 30% REGOs, this would make that company 40% green 60% brown. Under the reporting regulations would this company report it’s true usage OR
Can REGOs ever be double counted???? By both companies.


Hi @John2020
Welcome to the community!
Nice one for getting stuck in.:)

REGOs can only be used once. They are linked to 'green' sourced power. That power goes on the grid.
Any supplier can buy the REGO associated with that power generation and 'retire' it.
It means the supplier can claim the 'green' source, and so match it to the power consumed by their customers.

You may want to check out this Ofgem page all about REGOs too 🆙
Hi Marc, To further this discussion it has been stated that a renewable generator may sell a quantity of green electricity to a commercial buyer who does not take the associated REGO certificate because they have no need to prove the renewable origin. These left-over certificates can then be bought separately by a 'green' supplier to match up their supplied energy bought off the wholesale market with a renewable source, but in fact the renewable energy represented by that certificate has already been sold; so the supplied energy may actually be brown - the left-over certificate is effectively being re-used. Do you know if PP buy left-over REGO certificates ? Thanks
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Hello KeithCJackson.

this is a complicated market place indeed. Let me try and help.

Bp produce renewable energy for every mwh they produce it creates one REGO.

PP and BP have a direct trading contract so for every mwh that PP buys from BP they are also given the rego. Therefore PP only sells guaranteed renewable energy.

Bp currently produce more renewable energy than they sell to PP so this excess is sold on the open market to the highest bidder. The REGOS for this spare capacity can then also be sold and the purchaser can say the energy is green.

so in the example you give the factory that buys the energy without the rego cannot claim to be a green energy user but the buyer of the rego can, as regos can only be used once.

it is a somewhat of a crazy system but maybe oneday the rules may be changed to stop the sale of excess regos.


It's a bit like a supermarket buying organic tomatoes because they're cheapest at the time, selling them as ordinary tomatoes then selling the organic labels cheaply to another supermarket to stick on their more cheaply purchased at the time non-organic tomatoes. The amount of certified tomatoes matches the number of labels but the customer is being misled.


👆🏽 exactly this, great example. I’m surprised more people haven’t Liked this thread because ‘greenwashing’ is probably one of the biggest threats to the demand for green energy and the question on the use of REGOs will surely come out of the wash and into the mainstream one day and do damage to the image of green tariffs for some considerable time.


There are many that’ll use any excuse not to switch to a green tariff because they think everyone is being fooled. You’d have to be incredibly misinformed, naive or downright stupid to think the energy from a renewable supplier gets pumped directly into the home of someone using a green tariff. The ‘fact’ that it doesn’t work this way puts seemingly intelligent people off (I know some of these people!) leading them to scorn at those of us who undertsand the principle of ‘energy in=energy out’. Do these people also think that when they make a cash withdrawal from an ATM that it’s exactly the same notes put in there by their employer?! Oh dear!
 

But for me the issue is around the use of REGOs, not that it’s not renewable energy that isn’t pumped directly into my house. Several media outlets, such as the Sunday Mirror and Which? have published articles claiming that suppliers with so-called green tariffs are using REGOs bought on the open market. They seem to be missing an important point, but answered above by Marc, in that these can only be used once. So the fact that a REGO even exists is because that energy has been produced and bought by somebody. Does it matter who by?

 

Yes, I think so. GreenyGreen raises an important point. Just because someone didn’t use a REGO for some cheap green energy bought at some point and not sold as green energy doesn’t make it ok to use the REGO green label created as a result for something that is bought on the open market. You cannot use an organic tomato label on a tomato that is not grown organically. I, like many, were under the impression that the energy bought by PP was directly from the renewable generator. And this energy is the amount of energy matched by customer use that enters the grid. What I didn’t realise until some further digging is that the energy bought by PP is just bought on the open market and simply BACKED by REGOs. That’s not what I thought I signed up for. It’s hardly pure, is it?

 

I want my green electricity to be exactly that, a contract with a company that has a direct relationship with a renewable generator and if PP cannot ensure that then it will more than likely lose me as a customer.

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@tastyfish

Are you therefore willing to help subsidize the cost of laying new supply cables between the green generator and your home.

All electricity comes from a common source "The Grid " all electricity generated by whatever means is fed into that grid. The REGOs are there to show that a set amount of green energy is fed into the grid on behalf of the green supplier.

Laying new cables or having your own green generator is the only way to guarantee having a truly green supply

In the reply by Mavis it is stated that BP receive a REGO for every 1MWh produced, and PP buy this directly but I am sure that I have seen elsewhere that PP just make use of BP’s energy trading fracility

Also it seems to be quite difficult to find out how much renewable energy BP actually generates in the UK at the moment.

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It's a bit like a supermarket buying organic tomatoes because they're cheapest at the time, selling them as ordinary tomatoes then selling the organic labels cheaply to another supermarket to stick on their more cheaply purchased at the time non-organic tomatoes. The amount of certified tomatoes matches the number of labels but the customer is being misled.


👆🏽 exactly this, great example. I’m surprised more people haven’t Liked this thread because ‘greenwashing’ is probably one of the biggest threats to the demand for green energy and the question on the use of REGOs will surely come out of the wash and into the mainstream one day and do damage to the image of green tariffs for some considerable time.


There are many that’ll use any excuse not to switch to a green tariff because they think everyone is being fooled. You’d have to be incredibly misinformed, naive or downright stupid to think the energy from a renewable supplier gets pumped directly into the home of someone using a green tariff. The ‘fact’ that it doesn’t work this way puts seemingly intelligent people off (I know some of these people!) leading them to scorn at those of us who undertsand the principle of ‘energy in=energy out’. Do these people also think that when they make a cash withdrawal from an ATM that it’s exactly the same notes put in there by their employer?! Oh dear!
 

But for me the issue is around the use of REGOs, not that it’s not renewable energy that isn’t pumped directly into my house. Several media outlets, such as the Sunday Mirror and Which? have published articles claiming that suppliers with so-called green tariffs are using REGOs bought on the open market. They seem to be missing an important point, but answered above by Marc, in that these can only be used once. So the fact that a REGO even exists is because that energy has been produced and bought by somebody. Does it matter who by?

 

Yes, I think so. GreenyGreen raises an important point. Just because someone didn’t use a REGO for some cheap green energy bought at some point and not sold as green energy doesn’t make it ok to use the REGO green label created as a result for something that is bought on the open market. You cannot use an organic tomato label on a tomato that is not grown organically. I, like many, were under the impression that the energy bought by PP was directly from the renewable generator. And this energy is the amount of energy matched by customer use that enters the grid. What I didn’t realise until some further digging is that the energy bought by PP is just bought on the open market and simply BACKED by REGOs. That’s not what I thought I signed up for. It’s hardly pure, is it?

 

I want my green electricity to be exactly that, a contract with a company that has a direct relationship with a renewable generator and if PP cannot ensure that then it will more than likely lose me as a customer.

This is not intended to be sarcastic..far from it.

Does this mean that when you buy your organic tomatoes  from Tesco that they are only considered OK if Tesco grow them or, is it OK if Tesco police the growing company and produce their own  valid organic certificate, or  perhaps Tesco use a third party verifier who act as a go-between to produce organic certification.

Or perhaps the only sure fire way is to grow your own organic tomatoes.

The system is broken, but short of PP investing in wind and solar directly (some do) I don’t see an easy fix. (and it would still be delivered by the grid and mixed with all the other electricity.)

 

@tastyfish

Are you therefore willing to help subsidize the cost of laying new supply cables between the green generator and your home.

All electricity comes from a common source "The Grid " all electricity generated by whatever means is fed into that grid. The REGOs are there to show that a set amount of green energy is fed into the grid on behalf of the green supplier.

Laying new cables or having your own green generator is the only way to guarantee having a truly green supply

Eh? I think you’ve misunderstood the issue. You do know that the money you withdraw from an ATM isn’t the same notes as what your employer puts in your bank account, right? And you do know that your employer doesn’t make a trip down to the bank with a sack full of notes so that the bank can put it in the machines used by those employees or post them out to them, yeah?).

Obviously what happens is that your employer puts a number into your bank representing your pay and that number appears in your bank next time you check the balance. Well, it’s the same principle with green energy. What is used by green tariff consumers, is meant to be matched by green tariff suppliers  buying from green energy generators. If you’re not understanding that then you’re not understanding the simple principle of how green tariffs work. It’s all about transferring units (measured in Watthours), not physical electrons or whatever. Except it isn’t.

The issue here is that PP are buying REGOs associated with the production of renewable electricity on the open market, and not directly from a renewable supplier. The actual green energy generated is being bought by OTHER suppliers but those suppliers are not, for whatever reason, purchasing the associated REGO. Probably because their customers don’t care. So, someone else is buying the green energy and all PP are doing is buying the REGO. That’s the issue that is being described in this thread. Yes, the green energy has been produced, but all PP have done is purchase the label.

I’d advise reading the whole thread from top to bottom as it’s all explained there before commenting further!

 


It's a bit like a supermarket buying organic tomatoes because they're cheapest at the time, selling them as ordinary tomatoes then selling the organic labels cheaply to another supermarket to stick on their more cheaply purchased at the time non-organic tomatoes. The amount of certified tomatoes matches the number of labels but the customer is being misled.


👆🏽 exactly this, great example. I’m surprised more people haven’t Liked this thread because ‘greenwashing’ is probably one of the biggest threats to the demand for green energy and the question on the use of REGOs will surely come out of the wash and into the mainstream one day and do damage to the image of green tariffs for some considerable time.


There are many that’ll use any excuse not to switch to a green tariff because they think everyone is being fooled. You’d have to be incredibly misinformed, naive or downright stupid to think the energy from a renewable supplier gets pumped directly into the home of someone using a green tariff. The ‘fact’ that it doesn’t work this way puts seemingly intelligent people off (I know some of these people!) leading them to scorn at those of us who undertsand the principle of ‘energy in=energy out’. Do these people also think that when they make a cash withdrawal from an ATM that it’s exactly the same notes put in there by their employer?! Oh dear!
 

But for me the issue is around the use of REGOs, not that it’s not renewable energy that isn’t pumped directly into my house. Several media outlets, such as the Sunday Mirror and Which? have published articles claiming that suppliers with so-called green tariffs are using REGOs bought on the open market. They seem to be missing an important point, but answered above by Marc, in that these can only be used once. So the fact that a REGO even exists is because that energy has been produced and bought by somebody. Does it matter who by?

 

Yes, I think so. GreenyGreen raises an important point. Just because someone didn’t use a REGO for some cheap green energy bought at some point and not sold as green energy doesn’t make it ok to use the REGO green label created as a result for something that is bought on the open market. You cannot use an organic tomato label on a tomato that is not grown organically. I, like many, were under the impression that the energy bought by PP was directly from the renewable generator. And this energy is the amount of energy matched by customer use that enters the grid. What I didn’t realise until some further digging is that the energy bought by PP is just bought on the open market and simply BACKED by REGOs. That’s not what I thought I signed up for. It’s hardly pure, is it?

 

I want my green electricity to be exactly that, a contract with a company that has a direct relationship with a renewable generator and if PP cannot ensure that then it will more than likely lose me as a customer.

This is not intended to be sarcastic..far from it.

Does this mean that when you buy your organic tomatoes  from Tesco that they are only considered OK if Tesco grow them or, is it OK if Tesco police the growing company and produce their own  valid organic certificate, or  perhaps Tesco use a third party verifier who act as a go-between to produce organic certification.

Or perhaps the only sure fire way is to grow your own organic tomatoes.

The system is broken, but short of PP investing in wind and solar directly (some do) I don’t see an easy fix. (and it would still be delivered by the grid and mixed with all the other electricity.)

 

No, what Greenygreen is saying is that Tesco, for whatever reason, bought organic tomatoes for whatever reason (maybe because they were cheaper than normal ones at a precise point in time when organic prices were cheaper than normal) and just sold them as NORMAL. However, if those organic tomatoes come with a label (our REGO) would you be happy if someone else bought normal tomatoes but sold them as organic simply because they bought the organic label off Tesco? You’d feel you’d been misled, wouldn’t you?

 

Well, that’s EXACTLY what is happening here.

 

The REGO should be attached to the electricity bought, in other words, nobody else should be able to purchase it. Unfortunately, current Ofgem rules mean REGOs can be bought/sold (albeit only once).

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Yes I see what you mean, although we are dealing with a promise.  

.....The supplier is obliged to grow organic tomatoes, to fulfil the contractual obligations  but he or she has decided that they’re fed-up with organic tomatoes,  not making enough profit for the effort or whatever reason, and want to only grow non-organic. They sell the contract  they have with Tesco to produce organic tomatoes to another grower  (on the understanding that it can’t be re-sold by whoever buys) and more importantly on the explicit understanding that the contract to supply is fulfilled only with organic tomatoes by the person who has bought the promise. 

The difference here is that Tesco may say we gave you the contract after due diligence, how do we know the new supplier is OK?

My understanding of your point is that’s the part that’s missing from Regos as far as I can tell?   A  poisoning environmental terrorist can buy a Rego. So who gets to check the credentials of the company which has used the Rego?

OK forget tomatoes  for a brief second or two (even though I love them)

At some point whoever supplies the electricity the rego HAS to be physically matched with that amount of real sustainable lower carbon generation, so that in it’s own small way is a win (although I agree not ideal) for sustainability. If the electricity was carbon generated there would be no Rego.

The same way that a consumer paying more for organic tomatoes is a win because if all tomatoes were the same price and cost the same to produce all the growers would become organic for  consumer demand  and improved environment,  however if they cost more to produce and consumers won’t pay it then it won’t happen.

Sadly I see no difference in the real world.

I wouldn’t start from here though.

 

 

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