Renewable Choice Energy, the Boulder, Col.-based Green Power consulting firm, has issued a provocative new study on the role renewable energy credits (RECs) can play in transforming the modern energy landscape. Entitled “The Role of RECs and Additionality in Green Power Markets,” the paper demonstrates that commercial, industrial, and institutional (C&I) purchasing of renewable energy is at an all-time high.
Introduced in the late 1990s, RECs are the means by which most energy consumers worldwide “take possession of the environmental attributes of green power generation.”
In 2015, more than half the new wind power in the U.S. was the byproduct of corporate clean power purchasing in such sectors as manufacturing, healthcare, and retail. Why the sudden interest in RECs and large-scale renewable energy? The Renewable Choice Energy paper suggests that corporations are beginning to recognize that RECs provide enormous value, especially in nascent or developing markets where there is little to no capacity to track or trade ownership of renewable claims. RECs—or their equivalent—are still the only way that green power is tracked and traded, worldwide,” the paper states.
RECs are becoming increasingly indispensable in the advancement of renewable energy and green power. C&I buyers are better understanding that their voluntary involvement in the green power market may benefit not only emission reduction goals, but also their public relations goals. As the Renewable Choice Energy study puts it: “Buyers that want to use renewables to meet their goals around reducing emissions from purchased electricity must rely on RECs.”