Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Wind Energy Glossary Terms

I. What is a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC)?

A Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) is a tradable certificate that represents the environmental attributes of electricity generated from renewable energy sources. These certificates are used to track and verify the production of renewable energy and are often bought and sold separately from the actual electricity generated. RECs are a way for renewable energy producers to demonstrate the environmental benefits of their energy production and for consumers to support renewable energy projects.

II. How are RECs used in the wind energy industry?

In the wind energy industry, RECs play a crucial role in incentivizing the development and deployment of wind energy projects. Wind energy producers can generate RECs for every megawatt-hour of electricity they produce from wind turbines. These RECs can then be sold to utilities, businesses, and individuals who want to support renewable energy and offset their carbon footprint.

III. What are the benefits of using RECs for wind energy projects?

Using RECs for wind energy projects has several benefits. First and foremost, it provides a financial incentive for wind energy producers to invest in renewable energy projects. By selling RECs, wind energy producers can generate additional revenue to help offset the costs of building and operating wind farms. Additionally, purchasing RECs allows consumers to support renewable energy projects and reduce their carbon footprint without having to install renewable energy systems themselves.

IV. How are RECs certified and verified?

RECs are certified and verified by independent third-party organizations to ensure their authenticity and environmental integrity. These organizations verify that the renewable energy was generated from eligible sources and that the associated environmental attributes have not been double-counted or sold multiple times. Once verified, RECs are registered in a tracking system to ensure transparency and accountability in the renewable energy market.

V. What is the difference between RECs and carbon offsets?

While both RECs and carbon offsets are used to support renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions, there are key differences between the two. RECs represent the environmental attributes of renewable energy generation, such as wind or solar power, while carbon offsets represent the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from activities like reforestation or energy efficiency projects. RECs are specifically tied to the production of renewable energy, while carbon offsets can be generated from a variety of emission reduction projects.

VI. How can individuals and businesses purchase RECs to support wind energy?

Individuals and businesses can purchase RECs from renewable energy providers, utilities, or third-party brokers to support wind energy projects. By purchasing RECs, consumers can ensure that the electricity they use is sourced from renewable energy and help drive demand for clean energy production. Many utilities offer green energy programs that allow customers to purchase RECs to offset their electricity usage, while third-party organizations like Green-e provide certification for renewable energy products to ensure their environmental integrity. Additionally, businesses can purchase RECs to meet sustainability goals, demonstrate corporate responsibility, and reduce their carbon footprint.