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What’s New with I-RECs in 2024

Latest I-REC Trends and How They Could Affect Your Company’s Renewable Energy Strategy in 2024/2025


Blog by Lotus Shaheen and Daniel Heim


I-REC Trends 2024: seven wind turbines with a foggy mountain backdrop
© OSORIOartist - stock.adobe.com

Another year and another growth story for the International Renewable Energy Certificate (I-REC) markets. We are once again diving into the latest available data, interpreting trends and investigating their possible impact on companies in 2024 and 2025. We’re putting the spotlight on what’s new for I-RECs!


More I-REC supply than ever before

When looking at the I-REC market now we can see a continuation of a trend that was already set in previous years – the market's rapid expansion. In the past year alone, seven new countries have officially joined the I-REC(E) Standard: Suriname, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, New Zealand, Mauritania, Nicaragua, and Zimbabwe.


The upward trend continues, but there have been some differences on the regional level. When it comes to market size based on the issued I-REC volume, China has been the largest I-REC market for almost 7 years in a row. The red dragon is followed by the newly rising star market, UAE, which has a substantial growth rate and overthrew Brazil from its usual second rank. In the third and fourth ranks come Brazil and Türkiye, followed by Chile.


Top 5 country I-REC issuance by date
Data Source: Evident I-REC Registry

What this could mean for your company

With more I-RECs on the market, companies have a wider array of renewable energy sources to choose from. This variety allows you to find the perfect match for your sustainability goals and regional energy needs.


South America and South Asia becoming bigger players on the I-REC market

In South America, Brazil and Chile are on the upward trajectory, with increases in I-REC issuance of approximately 73% and 55% respectively from the previous year—a testament to Latin America's growing commitment to renewable resources. Although a smaller market, Colombia has also shown significant growth in issuances of almost two folds compared to 2022. All these developments illustrate the importance of Latin America and market actors in Latin American countries in supporting the global energy transition and the journey to net-zero.


Solar panel park in the Antofagasta region of Chile
Región de Antofagasta, Chile © Antonio Garcia - unsplash.com

As we predicted for the region in our blog last year, the South and Southeast Asian I-REC markets have also grown significantly. Singapore and Malaysia have shown the biggest leaps in yearly issuances with a staggering increase by more than ten folds for the former, and about five folds for the latter. Vietnam and India rank next in this region when it comes to issuances, albeit at smaller growth rates. In 2024, Asian markets have also started strong and we anticipate this trend to continue.


What this could mean for your company

The whole renewable energy industry is rapidly moving forward in Latin America and Asia, so don’t get left behind! Now is the time to drive decarbonization forward in your company and focus on reducing scope 2 emissions by sourcing renewable energy globally. 



More Solar and Wind Availability

Globally, 2023 has seen a slow, but steady increase in the number of registered renewable energy projects as I-REC assets. With the exception of African I-REC markets, hydropower has historically been the predominant production technology measured by cumulated registered capacity. However, most newly registered capacities in 2023 were solar and wind farms. This signifies a healthy growth of the global I-REC market on the one hand, and a diversification of technology.


Global device capacity of active I-REC devices: wind, solar, other, hydroelectrive, geothermal, bioenergy
Data source: Evident I-REC Reigstry

What this could mean for your company

The different voluntary disclosure systems, such as CDP, RE100 or SBTi specify technical criteria and best-practice guidelines regarding technology types eligible to be counted towards scope 2 emissions reductions. With more specific technologies available, your company can more easily align its renewable energy strategy with voluntary disclosure systems.


I-TRACK: Expanding to new technologies

In December 2023, the I-REC Standard Foundation rebranded itself, and is now called the International Tracking Standard Foundation (I-TRACK Foundation). The rebranding does not influence the existing I-REC(E) scheme and I-REC certificates, but rather fortifies it and expands the possibilities of this growing market beyond just electricity.


The I-TRACK Foundation is now also working on new product codes for:

  • I-TRACK(HX) for hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives

  • I-TRACK(CDR) for carbon dioxide removal

  • I-TRACK(G) for biogas and biomethane


With more technologies being introduced, there is a need for transparent and compatible tracking schemes. Thanks to established principles from REC markets being translated over to these technologies through the new product codes, these will be interoperable with the other products.


What this could mean for your company

While these products are still in their early stages, companies looking to spearhead new decarbonization methods could find this development to be particularly interesting. Thanks to their common basics under the same tracking foundation, the new products such as I-TRACK(HX) will easily build upon other existing products such as the I-REC(E), to facilitate a more comprehensive climate strategy throughout your company’s supply chain. 

 

China introduces GECs alongside I-RECs

Despite maintaining its rank as the biggest I-REC market globally, China witnessed a slight decline in the yearly issuance of I-RECs in 2023 compared to the same point in time in 2022. This may have been a reflection of the country’s revision of its national renewable energy targets and a number of policy revisions to encourage its renewable energy sector. The policy change also ushered in a new product specifically for the Chinese markets, similar to I-RECs, known as GECs (Green Energy Certificates).


What this could mean for your company

For companies in China, GECs represent a regional option alongside I-RECs for procuring renewable energy. However, the GEC market was effectively launched last year, meaning it is a young market which could cause some uncertainty regarding this product. If your company is considering sourcing GECs or I-RECs, we can advise you on which is the best option for your sustainability requirements.



International Negotiations Influence I-REC Markets

COP28
COP 28 UAE

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 28th Conference of the Parties (COP) made headlines last year for its commitment to tripling the world’s renewable energy capacity by 2030.  With the last two COPs hosted by countries in the MENA region, this part of the world has been increasingly under the spotlight for its commitment to renewable energy. UAE, for example, showed an impressive 251% yearly growth rate in the issued certificates within 2023.


What this could mean for your company

It is expected to see this trend continue as a domino effect in the MENA region as there is an increased general awareness of the importance of Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs) as a market-tool for demonstrating sustainability ambitions. This could give your company more opportunities to procure renewable energy from the region.



Green Energy Icon: Solar and Wind electricity generation


To I-REC or not to I-REC?

I-RECs are a powerful market-based tool for ensuring regulatory compliance with environmental frameworks. They provide verifiable proof of renewable energy production as well as use, facilitate accurate carbon reporting, and support broader sustainability goals. By integrating I-RECs into your energy strategy, your company can confidently navigate environmental regulatory landscapes while championing climate action.


If you need advice on whether I-RECs are suitable for your company’s renewable energy strategy, then reach out to us and we can help.





 


About the Authors



Lotus Shaheen, Green Energy Specialist First Climate

Lotus Shaheen is a Green Energy Specialist at First Climate, specializing in the I-REC market and the different non-EU national schemes. She received her Master of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management at the University of Freiburg and has previous experience as an International Power Markets Analyst at a renewable energy project developer in Germany. Lotus combines a technical knowledge of the energy sector with a passion for engaging corporates and renewable energy project owners in the green energy transition.




Daniel Heim is a Junior Consultant for Renewable Energy at First Climate, where he specializes in Green Hydrogen, Biogas and the I-REC market. He holds a Master of Engineering in Environmental Engineering from the University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt. Daniel is dedicated to understanding new technologies and mechanisms, striving to make them more accessible to market participants.


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