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What I get from giving a webinar

- Tim Middlehurst, CEO of Certified Energy

Last Monday, I spoke to the members of Carbon and Energy Professionals about Energy Certificates - how they work, and how they help reduce reported emissions. What I always find with these sessions is they help strengthen the NZECS, the scheme that underpins energy certificates.

An engaged and curious audience will challenge some of my underlying assumptions about the scheme and in debating these assumptions, we can find ways to improve it together. I want to share my insights from the session with you now.

The webinar is available on the CEP website - check it out if you want Energy Certificates 101. I start talking from 2'30 and the stimulating questions and discussion from the audience start at 28’33.

I always look forward to the questions as they help me understand where the pain points are for energy professionals and give me more insight into how energy certificates can help them.

We fielded questions on how the market will work for energy certificates, how certificates might be applied to green hydrogen or geothermal energy, and the residual supply mix. We also had some interesting discussions around the relative advantages of certificates versus offsets, the interaction with government, and how the system will have an impact - primarily by encouraging increasing new renewable and carbon-free generation.

What I heard from participants during the session was strong support for the principle of the system, and real engagement from people across the industry, which I believe could lead to highly beneficial collaboration. At every level, from businesses (users), producers, retailers, consultants and auditors, there’s enthusiasm for the potential changes that energy certificates can bring.

There was also a healthy degree of scrutiny on how energy certificates work, and it’s our challenge to use those questions to improve the system, as well as do a good job of educating energy users and the whole industry about this new to New Zealand concept. Some questions were particularly perceptive as they raised issues we need to address, and will keep you updated on those as we work on improving the system.

We also held two polls during the session. While not especially scientific, they give some insight into the drivers for using energy certificates from among our 70-odd participants.

First we asked, what current solutions are your clients using for their Scope 2 emissions? (multichoice)

Upgrade equipment to achieve greater efficiency - 86% Conserve energy through less activity - 57% Offset - 47%  Purchase renewable energy certificates - 29%  Purchase off-site power - 10%
what current solutions are your clients using for their Scope 2 emissions?

We all know that there will be increasing demand for electricity in the coming decades as more processes and transport are electrified. Efficiency and conservation will take us some of the way, but while New Zealand is only at about 60% carbon-free electricity generation, there will always be carbon emissions associated with electricity use. So inevitably, we will need to increase the amount of carbon-free electricity generation, and we see certificates as a way for energy users to encourage more carbon-free generation, both from large power companies and smaller independent generators.

Offsets are a completely valid part of any good carbon reduction strategy. However, certificates are recognised by more frameworks internationally, and encouraging carbon-free electricity has the advantage of reducing carbon emissions at the source rather than removing them from the atmosphere at a later date.

The second poll: What would you say is the main driver for your clients to reduce their Scope 2 emissions?

Improving their reputation 54% Internal motivation 23% Meeting Climate Leaders Coalition commitments 15% Consumer demand 8% Investor scrutiny 0%
What would you say is the main driver for your clients to reduce their Scope 2 emissions?

Sustainability credentials are very important for reputation, and I think New Zealand companies are some of the leaders in recognising this. But equally, we can’t underestimate the role of companies being highly aware of climate change, and wanting to do the right thing by reducing carbon emissions by whatever method they choose. Energy certificates are one part of the solution, and as I said during the session, let’s set the table for us all to take collective action.

Many thanks to Mike and Maz, the team at CEP, for the opportunity to hold this webinar and speak to members. Certified Energy has recently joined CEP as a Bronze Partner because we support the great work that they do bringing together collective knowledge in this field to help us all better help our companies and clients, and we look forward to talking to you more about energy certificates as the market develops.

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