Renewable Energy Certificates

Oftentimes, individuals and businesses will choose to offset the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with their Scope 2 emissions by supporting Renewable Energy Certificates. Renewable Energy Certificates, known by the acronym RECs, are the bundled environmental attributes associated with 1 megawatt hour of clean, renewable energy.

Renewable Energy Certificates may be used for voluntary offsetting purposes or may be used for compliance purposes, such as to meet a state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). The leading certification standard for voluntary RECs is the Center for Resource Solutions’ Green-e Energy program. Another useful resource, particularly to see the various financial incentives for renewable and energy efficiency upgrades, is the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency®.

Renewable Energy Certificates can be generated from both small-scale projects and from large-scale operations. For example, RECs could come from rooftop solar photovoltaic panels on a household to large-scale, grid-connected wind farms. This said, there are a wide-variety of project types such as wind, solar photovoltaic, hydroelectric, and biomass that generate RECs.

In the past, RECs were commonly supplied from facilities in the United States and Canada. Nowadays, there are also international RECs, known as I-RECs. To learn more, visit the International REC Standard.

Regarding scopes, there are three scopes of greenhouse gas emissions. Scope 1 GHG emissions are considered company-owned or controlled GHG emissions. This could include, for example, a company-owned car fleet, which combusts fossil fuels. Scope 2 GHG emissions are considered indirect GHG emissions associated with purchased electricity. Scope 3 GHG emissions are all of the remaining indirect GHG emissions, such as business air travel.

Please visit us to learn more about Foundation and to learn more about RECs.