European Residual Mixes 2018 show CO2 footprint when not using documented renewable electricity

European Residual Mixes 2018

Guarantees of Origin (GOs) are used to track renewable electricity in Europe. Consumers who do not choose renewable electricity with GOs will use a mix (Residual Mix) of energy produced from renewable, fossil and nuclear sources.

The Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB) has published the European Residual Mixes 2018. A Residual Mix is a calculation of the average origin of electricity sold without documented origin. Renewable energy gives extra income, so European producers prefer to sell electricity with documentation of origin to electricity suppliers or end-consumers willing to pay the added value. This is reflected in the calculation by a low and decreasing share of renewables available for electricity products without documented origin. The calculation also shows a reduced share of fossil energy in the Residual Mix, indicating that renewables now replace fossil energy in Europe.

The calculation was carried out by Grexel Systems Ltd on behalf of AIB, assisted by Ostfoldforskning and Ecoinvent. The presence of a trustworthy calculated Residual Mix makes the entire disclosure system reliable, by determining and correctly disclosing origin to consumers that purchase electricity without specific documentation of origin. Apart from the AIB website, information about origin and residual mix can be obtained from national energy authorities.

Residual Mixes are also calculated in other parts of the world like 2019 Green-e® Residual Mix Emissions Rates.

AIB’s key findings of the 2018 calculation 

  • On average, the European residual mixes of 2018 have
    – 12.4% (17.3) renewable
    – 33.0% (23.8) nuclear
    – 54.6% (58.9) fossil
    (2017 figures in brackets).
  • The volume of explicitly tracked consumption grew from 962 TWh to 988 TWh, meaning more certification of consumed electricity using e.g. GOs.
  • The share of untracked consumption continued to shrink being 70% in 2018. The lowest shares of untracked consumption (apart from Austria that has implemented full disclosure) were in Ireland (11.9%) and Sweden (16.1%). The low share of untracked consumption indicates the willingness of the power consumers to favour green over generic power products.