About Renewable Energy Certificates

Across the world, everybody with a focus on the future wants to encourage the creation of more sustainable sources of energy. Governments, sustainable businesses and progressive consumers all want to move the world towards smarter power.

The Carrot or the Stick?

Sometimes, federal or state governments use a mandate, telling their utility companies to achieve X-percent of green power in their generation portfolio. (The “stick” approach.) Also, many jurisdictions use tax incentives to encourage organizations to move in a sustainable direction such as a LEED®-certified building. (The “carrot”.) And many organizations use green power just because it’s the right thing to do. (Thank you!)

One Common Measure

Green Power might be purchased for the voluntary market or the compliance market, but whenever Green Power is transacted, the “Renewable Energy Certificate” (or REC) is the vehicle used to measure it. The unit is a megawatt-hour (MWh, which is a block of 1000 kilowatt-hours), but what’s being transacted by someone somewhere is a REC. The power component of Green Power is the actual electricity, while the green component of Green Power is the REC. Utility companies who sell “green power” directly to their rate-payers (or after deregulation, “irate payers”) are providing a generic electron from their generic mix of power sources, plus a REC to track the utility’s green power allocation to that end-user.

This “bundled” green power approach is easy for residential buyers, since it all shows up on one bill. While end-users can purchase their green power this way in about half the US, savvy power buyers find that it is dramatically cheaper and easier to go to a “REC vendor” such as WindCurrent, so they can buy their power from the utility company and their REC from WindCurrent.

Cheaper: Companies typically pay about 75% less to buy a REC from WindCurrent, compared to the added Green Power price from the utility company.

Easier: If you need a contract for a specified time period (e.g., two years for LEED), or if you have facilities in multiple utility company territories (we greened the entire Dept of Homeland Security with one contract), a simple REC purchase is the way to go.

LEED project managers, government agencies, sustainable businesses and savvy consumers have all contacted WindCurrent for their Green Power needs.

For more information:

For LEED Projects: The Green Power Point
For Sustainable Businesses
For Government Agencies
For Utility Companies
For Your Home