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Renewable Energy Credits, A Primer

Renewable Energy Credits, A Primer

Try as we might, very few of us can live a completely carbon-free, green lifestyle.  There are still those necessary occurrences in life (driving, flying, Instagramming) that contribute to our creation of greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, TerraPass provides solutions to help reverse these damaging effects and displace fossil fuel emissions with clean energy. One of those solutions is RECs, or Renewable Energy Credits.

You may hear other names for RECs  (pronounced like “wreck”), such as green tags, renewable energy certificates and tradable renewable certificates. RECs can be bought, sold and traded within the United States and are proof (RECs are assigned unique ID numbers that can be tracked) that 1 megawatt-hour (equal to 1,000 kilowatt-hours) of electricity was created using a renewable energy source like solar, wind or water. But it doesn’t end there. That 1 megawatt-hour (the equivalent of powering 330 homes for 1 hour) of green electricity is delivered into the big pool of electricity where we all swim (aka The Power Grid) and is then made available for purchase either in the form of RECs or as regular power.

When you purchase regular power from the grid, you are buying comingled energy – a mix of green energy and fossil fuel-sourced power.  When you purchase RECs, you are effectively segregating the power allocated to your home as that supplied by green sources.

Because RECs have the potential to greatly impact the country’s electricity supply and influence climate change, many states must meet energy standards by specific deadlines.  For this reason, several states are involved in the REC trading game. California law states, for example, that by 2020, 33 percent of electricity must be produced using renewable methods. And REC trading works across state lines, allowing for an area that doesn’t see much sun (rainy, gloomy Washington state) to buy RECs from solar power created in a sunnier locale (hello Florida!) to help reach its legally mandated or voluntary goals.

Renewable Energy Credits, A Primer

But just because you don’t have the budget of a state government, you can still purchase RECs through TerraPass to support clean, green energy production and reduce your carbon footprint. For a $5 monthly REC subscription, you can purchase 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh), which is slightly more energy than the average household consumes on a monthly basis. And at only $5 per month – that’s less than half your Netflix subscription – isn’t it a better feeling to binge on clean energy rather than a bad rom-com?

For more information and news on sustainable and renewable energy sources and how you can live a clean, green carbon-free life, stay connected to TerraPass’ Footprint Blog. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for even more updates!


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