What are RECs?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one REC avoids 1,400 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (for comparison, the average U.S. home is responsible for 1,917 pounds of CO2 emissions per month). Renewable energy also avoids the emission of other pollutants such as oxides of nitrogen and sulfur dioxide, both of which contribute significantly to ozone pollution and human health concerns.
RECs provide for the transfer of the environmental benefits associated with renewable energy between parties and are an important value stream for renewable energy projects. RECs are used to meet certain state renewable energy requirements, but also allow stakeholders to meet corporate sustainability or greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. Individuals who choose to mitigate their own impact on the environment can also benefit from RECs.
- RECs enable anyone, in any geographic location, to claim the emission avoidance associated with energy production and support renewable energy development.
- RECs provide green power options in areas that may not be suitable for renewable resources, allowing renewable facilities to be located where they are the most efficient.
- A REC is created when one megawatt-hour of renewable energy is produced from a qualified renewable energy generation plant.
- RECs represent the energy's avoided emissions benefit when compared to energy being produced from a facility burning fossil fuels.
- Only the owner of the REC can claim the environmental benefits of the clean energy production.