Renewable Energy Certificates

Please click one of the links below to jump down to the section:

What are RECs?
How RECs work
Verifying REC Ownership
If the sunlight that strikes the Earth surface in 88 minutes was able to completely harnessed, it would be enough to power the world's energy requirement for a year.

Hydropower is a main energy source in more than 30 countries around the world.

Please see the following Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) Chart*


*Courteousy of the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States

star Renewable Energy Certificates

A Renewable Energy Certificate represents the property rights to the social, environmental and other nonpower qualities of renewable energy generation.

The associated benefits and attributes of an REC can be sold separately from the physical electricity. RECs allow for the flexibility of acquiring green power varied geographical area. RECs also allow for the ability to use the attributes to any facility of choice.

arrow How Renewble Energy Certificates Work

Referring to the above diagram, at the point of generation, the components can either be sold separately or together. The Renewable Generator provides the electricity into the electrical grid. Here, the electricity is mixed with other generation sources.

One REC is produced for every 1000 kilowatt-hour (1 megawatt-hour) of electricity placed onto the electrical grid. Should the electricity be sold separately from its associated RECs, the electricity is no longer considered to be "green" or "renewable". The REC is what gives the benefits of renewable electric power, not the actual electricity itself.

RECs serve the purpose of claiming and accounting for the associated attributes of renewable energy generation. The following is a list of attributes that an REC can convey to an owner:

Primary Attributes Secondary Attributes
- Emission of Renewable Energy
- Renewable fuel source
- Can be eligible for certification or RPS
- Geographic location of Generator
- Price Stabilty
- Avoid unncessary emissions

star Verifying REC Ownership

To ensure against double counting and double claims, there are two ways to verify REC ownership.

1. REC Tracking Systems

Due to the fact that RECs can be sold separately from the actual electricity, the possibility of fraud is almost likely. One of the ways to prevent fraud from occuring is to track the RECs from the point of creation to the point of final use.

One of the best ways to protect yourself is to purchase green products from those that are independently audited and certified. Another way to purchase the REC is through a regional certificate tracking system, which is like a bank account since it can be tracked electronically. Each MWh of electricity generated obtains its own uniquely numbered certificate. The ownership of the certificate is tracked via this system and the certificate retires once the claims are made or used, on the basis of their attributes.

Tracking systems can be used for the compliance verification with a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which can help verify environmental or green power claims. Tracking systems are generally used to track wholesale transactions. Individual transactions are not tracked unless they are very large purchases. Please take a look at the following map that shows tracking systems developed within the United States


*REC tracking map courtesy of Ed Holt & Associates, Inc
Please further note that Tracking systems are geographically approximate and do not precisely coincide with state boundaries

2. REC Contracts & a chain of custody audit