What are Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)?

 

A Renewable Energy Certificate (REC), sometimes called a Renewable Energy Credit, is a tradable, legal mechanism that represents the environmental benefits associated with one Megawatt-hour of electricity generated from a renewable energy resource. These certificates may be sold and traded and the owner of the REC can legally claim to have purchased renewable energy. RECs incentivize the production of renewable energy by providing a source of revenue to electricity generated from renewable sources.

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how RECs work

For every unit of renewable electricity generated, an equivalent number of RECs is produced. The purchase of RECs helps replace fossil fuel-based electricity generation in the region where the renewable electricity generator is located.

When a renewable energy facility operates, it creates electricity that is delivered into a vast network of transmission wires, often referred to as “the grid.” The grid is segmented into regional power pools; in many cases these pools are not interconnected. To help facilitate the sale of renewable electricity nationally, a system was established that separates renewable electricity generation into two parts: the electricity or electrical energy produced by a renewable generator and the renewable “attributes” of that generation. The renewable attributes or “green” attributes can be sold separately as renewable energy certificates (RECs). Only one certificate may be issued for each unit of renewable electricity produced. The electricity that was split from the REC is no longer considered “renewable” and cannot be counted as renewable or zero-emissions by whomever buys it.

This product is comprised of RECs. With the purchase of RECs, you are buying the renewable attributes (i.e. environmental benefits) of a specific amount and type of renewable energy generation. You will continue to receive a separate electricity bill from your utility (if applicable). Your purchase of renewable certificates helps offset conventional electricity generation in the region where the renewable generator is located. Your purchase also helps build a market for renewable electricity and may have other local and global environmental benefits such as reduced regional air pollution and global climate change.

Renewable Energy Certificates are certified by Green-e Energy. Each supplier of Renewable Energy Certificates is required to disclose the quantity, type and geographic source of each certificate, available on the Product Content Label. Green-e Energy also verifies that the Renewable Energy Certificates are not sold more than once or claimed by more than one party. For information on Green-e Energy please visit its website, www.green-e.org.

1 REC = the non-power environmental attributes of 1,000-kilowatt-hours (1-Megawatt-hour) of renewable energy

 

PROOF OF PURCHASE—BEF provides you with a proof of purchase certificate by email to ensure that only you own the environmental attributes associated with your REC and to confirm the project supply from which your REC was generated.

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types of REC projects

The project types described below represent the diversity of projects that could make up BEF’s REC portfolio. They are provided as information only to help inform our customers about where and how RECs are generated.

Browse our REC project portfolio now >>

 

  • WIND ENERGY—Also called “wind power,” wind energy is electrical power generated from a wind turbine.
  • SOLAR ENERGY—The conversion of light into an electric current.
  • BIOGAS—Biogas is an energy resource produced by capturing methane through a process called anaerobic digestion. Methane can come from any facility in which plant or animal matter is decomposing. Biogas renewable energy projects are most commonly operated on dairy farms that capture methane and convert it into energy that can be used to replace other fuels such as natural gas (commonly used for heating buildings).
  • LANDFILL GAS—Landfill-gas-to-energy (LFGTE) projects capture methane gas for electricity and heat, turning a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) into a beneficial source of renewable energy.
  • GEOTHERMAL ENERGY—Geothermal energy is the natural thermal energy that is generated and stored in the Earth.

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how to minimize your business’ electricity use

  • GET EFFICIENT—Install motion sensors in rarely used portions of the office like bathrooms, break rooms and conference rooms.
  • PUT ELECTRONICS TO SLEEP—Enable sleep mode on all company computers after a set time and institute a “power down” policy for after-hours.

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references

Geothermal energy: http://www.epa.gov/region1/eco/energy/re_geothermal.html