To help facilitate the sale of renewable electricity nationally, a standard industry-wide system has been established that separates renewable electricity generation into two parts: the electricity or electrical energy produced by a renewable generator and the renewable “attributes” of that generation. The renewable attributes, or “green” attributes, can be sold separately as RECs. The electricity that was split from the REC is no longer considered “renewable” and cannot be counted as renewable or zero-emissions by whomever buys it. The REC product is what conveys the attributes and benefits of the renewable electricity, not the electricity itself. RECs, which have been endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are also an integral element of affordable, voluntary green pricing programs, such as the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s Greenergy®, the City of Palo Alto (Palo Alto Green), and Silicon Valley Power (Santa Clara Green Power), as well as by PG&E.
RECs provide buyers with flexibility in procuring green power across a diverse geographical area and in applying the renewable attributes to the electricity use at a facility of choice. This flexibility allows organizations to support renewable energy development and protect the environment when green power products are not locally available.
For more information, please visit the U.S. EPA website.