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What Is A Renewable Energy Certificate (REC)?

Written By: Warm Thoughts Communications on March 15, 2021

green energyIf you want to shrink your carbon footprint, you can go all in and install solar panels on your roof or a small wind turbine in your backyard. But simply put—those options aren’t always practical.

In reality, most of us get some or all of our electricity from our local utility company. The question is, how can you do that while still supporting the sorely needed move toward renewable energy?

That’s where renewable energy certificates (RECs) come in!

What’s A REC?

Renewable Energy Certificates, or RECs (sometimes called green tags or tradable renewable certificates/TRCs), are a way to represent the energy generated by renewable energy sources like solar or wind-powered facilities.

To be more specific, a REC represents one megawatt-hour (1 MWh, or 1,000 kilowatt-hours) of electricity that was generated by a renewable energy source.

RECs are needed to keep track of how much renewable energy is generated and consumed by the market. Here’s why. As you probably know, electricity is generated by a variety of sources, including wind, solar, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power—all of which mix together in a common interconnected grid, making it impossible to track exactly what source your power comes from. With a REC, you can be sure your money supports renewable energy.

How RECs Work

If you have electricity flowing into your home from a renewable source, it more than likely came from a third-party green-energy producer like a wind or solar farm; these facilities earn one REC for every MWh of electricity they produce. This REC can be sold or traded to another company, including electrical utilities.

Here’s a real-world REC example:

All renewable energy credits include a unique number, and most include identifying information about the source of the energy generated (location, type of resource that generated the power, etc.). The exchange of RECs is tracked and kept for your records.

Benefits For You

The main advantage of RECs for you is that they give you certified proof that you are using renewable energy without having to install solar panels or other renewable energy systems in your home. If you choose RECs, you can reduce your carbon footprint without investing in equipment.

Purchasing RECs also sends a signal to the market that there is a demand for renewables, which encourages more supply in the future.

Think of RECs as a statement of your commitment to clean power.

Should I Choose RECs?

RECs are a good fit for you if you:

Want to support renewable energy sources? Switch to Discount Power! When you choose one of our Green Plans, you’ll breathe easier, because you’ll know that 100% of your electricity usage will be offset by carbon-neutral wind or hydroelectric sources. You’ll reduce your impact on our planet without having to make any costly additions, changes to your daily routine, or any additional setup or installation.

To learn more, check out our Green Energy page —or jump right on board and enroll today!

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