VERBUND, Austria’s leading producer of electricity from hydropower, is a pioneer in the certification of origin for electricity. As early as 1999, VERBUND was the first Austrian electricity company to get its entire hydropower production certified by TÜV SÜD and therewith took an important part in developing the labelling of the origin of electricity. In its capacity as a neutral institution, TÜV SÜD is confirming with its seal of approval that the green electricity ordered by the end customer is produced in VERBUND power plants, in the corresponding quality and amount, and fed into the grid.
VERBUND is a pioneer in the transparency of the origin of electricity and has been getting its hydropower plants certified by TÜV SÜD for more than a decade. However, despite corresponding regulations, this transparency in the production of electricity remains an exception in the EU, since the electricity from only approx. 5% of all European power plants is certified with proof of origin. The availability of proof of origin certificates in Europe thus bears no relation to the amount of electricity generated.
TÜV SÜD is one of the most well-known European inspection bodies. The company annually inspects VERBUND during an audit lasting several days, which also includes a thorough inspection of the production sites. A prerequisite for receiving the seal of approval is, among other things, that the electricity sold originates 100 % from renewable energies and that the amount of electricity sold corresponds to the demand set of the consumer.
VERBUND household and commercial customers thus verifiably pay for electricity that has been 100% produced in certified power plants and therewith promote renewable energy. This is also confirmed by the current 2011 electricity labelling produced by E-Control.
Business customers are also increasingly backing electricity from certified VERBUND power plants, among these for years have been oekostrom AG, Volkswagen AG and Greenpeace Energy.
Austrian industrial customers are supplied by the VERBUND subsidiary, VERBUND Sales GmbH. The industrial customers thus have the free choice between electricity supply with or without proof of origin. However, for reasons of cost and competition, the majority of VERBUND’s Austrian industrial customers are currently opting to be supplied with grey electricity (electricity without a proof of origin).
VERBUND meets the majority of its electricity requirement from its own power plants. 2011 saw the importation of 8.2 TWh of electricity to Austria, whereby the VERBUND share merely amounted to 0.5 TWh. Short-term, seasonal fluctuations are balanced out through these imported volumes. What emerges from these figures is that VERBUND is able to cover the electricity requirement of its industrial customers with electricity from Austrian power plants. This means that the declared "grey electricity share" among VERBUND’s industrial customers actually originates primarily from Austrian electricity production.
In Austria, VERBUND is the largest electricity supplier from 100% Austrian hydropower. VERBUND advocates a standardised pan-European labelling of electricity in line with the Austrian model (covering all power plants, not just renewable power plants). This would serve to provide transparency for consumers and for the investment in climate friendly production that is free from nuclear power.