Methodological and Technological issues in Technology Transfer

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4.9.2 Certification

"Green power" marketing is another way to certify the qualities of an energy product (see Box 4.6). In the wake of liberalisation of markets, and more cross-boundary trading of electricity, certification issues increasingly need to be resolved at supra-national levels. Utility companies have now got an international working group which will start a pilot project, and there is a certification scheme included in the new draft renewables directive in the EU.

Box 4.6 Green Power Certification
Green power schemes are now operating in many developed countries including Australia, USA, the Netherlands, UK and Germany. The schemes were encouraged by government policy to encourage renewable energy but growth prospects are considerable as a result of liberalisation of electricity markets whereby the opportunity exists for power companies to exploit consumers' environmental values. Operating frameworks require cooperation, though not necessarily formal regulation, between parties. Voluntary arrangements operating so far have avoided possible conflicts with international trade regulation. If premium prices are being paid, it is essential to establish a verification system, which involves an independent and credible certification procedure. Consumers are only prepared to pay a premium if they have confidence in the product.

Serious marketing issues have arisen with most schemes. How 'green' is green'? There has been resistance to the use of large scale hydro plants in Canada and Sweden. Energy recovery from incineration has been criticised for being classified as a renewable technology. Furthermore, schemes may not necessarily result in the creation of new capacity, and may merely result in the proportion of 'brown' power rising for the non-premium paying consumers. Plausible schemes are also thought to include requirements for energy efficiency advice. When schemes are certified, should the overall environmental performance of the company be assessed at the same time? Until there is general agreement, consumers can be confused by competing marketing information and these issues could delay internationalisation of these initiatives.

Even where developing countries have embarked on paths to create regulatory frameworks which will encourage the use of environmentally sound energy technologies, corruption can reduce their impact unless there are robust systems for control in place. Analysis of Inspection/Maintenance programmes has revealed that corruption or "bypassing" constitutes the major problem for such programmes in developing countries, and the impact of such programmes depends to a large extent on a successful scheme to prevent corruptive behaviour. There are ways to reduce this problem, on-road inspections are the only way to prevent all possible fraud with frequent controls and frequent fines (Grutter, 1996).

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