SURE certification - sustainability for electricity and heat production

What is SURE?

The Sustainable Resources Verification Scheme (SURE) is a voluntary certification scheme that can be used to prove that the sustainability criteria required by the EU's Renewable Energy Directive (2018/2001/EC - RED II) for the production of electricity and heat from biomass are met.

SURE is a sister system to REDcert Unlike REDcert, however, it does not cover the production of final fuels. Unlike REDcert, however, SURE offers system specifications for the production of forestry biomass as well as electricity and heating/cooling from solid and gaseous biomass.

Since SURE and REDcert recognise each other, it is possible to certify one part of the supply chain according to REDcert and another part according to SURE in order to map the verification requirement across the entire supply chain.

For whom is SURE relevant?

With the revision of the EU Renewable Energy Directive, the obligation to provide evidence of compliance with sustainability criteria for biomass is extended. Until 2021, this only applied to operators selling liquid biofuels or biomethane in the EU fuel market, as well as the upstream and downstream supply chain.

Under RED II, plants that generate electricity or heating/cooling from biomass are now also subject to the verification requirement, provided their rated thermal input exceeds 20 MW for solid biomass or 2 MW for gaseous biomass. The verification requirement applies to the entire supply chain - for example, biogas and biogas upgrading plants that supply biomass must also be certified in accordance with SURE, REDcert, ISCC or similar.

What are the benefits of SURE certification?

Since RED II explicitly promotes the use of energy from renewable sources, the share of bioenergy in meeting our energy needs will increase significantly in the future. Voluntary certification systems such as SURE are considered an objective and reliable way of demonstrating compliance with the sustainability criteria set out in RED II.

Through SURE certification, economic operators therefore gain easy access to all EU electricity and heat markets and associated subsidies. They thus ensure the sustainable expansion of new raw material sources and help our society one step further on the path to more responsibility for our future. Certification is thus also a plus point for PR and marketing.

What are the prerequisites/requirements for SURE?

With the aid of a signed self-declaration, proof must be provided to the initial producer or collection point that the biomass produced meets the REDcert sustainability criteria.

Delivery documentation
Each biomass delivery for the generation of sustainable electricity/heat must be unmistakably marked (incl. certificate number on the shipping documents) and weighed or measured to determine the quantity.

Mass balancing
A mass balance system must be maintained individually for each site and is substrate-specific. It allows the physical mixing of raw material or biofuel deliveries with different sustainability properties. However, it requires that information on the sustainability characteristics of partial deliveries be recorded separately in the balance sheet.

Greenhouse gas balancing
Verification of greenhouse gas emission savings is only mandatory for plants that went into operation after 01.01.2021. For these plants, a saving of 70% compared to fossil fuels is mandatory. The limit for greenhouse gas emission savings will gradually increase to a minimum of 80% for installations commissioned from 1 January 2026.

How does the combination of SURE with other certification systems work?

In principle, all certification systems recognised by the EU (REDcert, ISCC etc.) also recognise each other. For biogas upgrading plants (BGAs) that produce biomethane for the fuel market as well as for the generation of electricity and heat, dual certification in accordance with REDcert and SURE may be necessary under certain circumstances. However, this only applies if there is a CHP producing electricity and heat at the same site.

In this case, the BGAA would have to be certified under REDcert for fuel production, but the CHP would have to be certified under SURE. Due to reduced membership costs in both systems and only slightly increased audit costs, combined audits according to REDcert and SURE are possible at low cost.

How does the certification according to SURE work?

If you decide to work with GUTcert, an on-site audit will take place to assess compliance with the requirements of the SURE system. After a successful review of the audit documents by GUTcert, you will receive a certificate demonstrating compliance with the sustainability criteria of RED II. The certificate is valid for one year and is renewed by a recertification audit before it expires.

In the future, it will probably also be possible to combine EEG assessments and SURE audits.

What does certification to SURE cost?

We calculate the cost of certification according to SURE individually, depending on the complexity of the product, the data acquisition effort and the product portfolio. Please do not hesitate to contact us.