This installment provides an introduction to RECs for corporate energy users. The publication defines RECs, their business benefits, and their similarities to other renewable energy products. It also makes suggestions for purchase strategy and policy.

Executive Summary

The fifth installment introduces "renewable energy certificates" (RECs). RECs are a renewable energy product that companies can purchase to reduce the environmental impact of their business activities. A REC represents the environmental attributes, for example, avoided CO2 emissions, that are created when electricity is generated using renewable resources instead of using fossil fuel sources such as coal, oil, and natural gas. RECs can be sold separately from their associated electricity and thus enable customers to purchase the environmental attributes of renewable power generation independently of their retail power supply. Purchasing RECs, therefore, can be an effective means for a company to "green" the electricity it consumes. This installment of WRI's Corporate Guide to Green Power Markets provides an introduction to RECs for corporate energy users.

This publication:

  • Defines RECs, their business benefits, and their similarities to other renewable energy products Outlines several advantages RECs provide relative to green power

  • Shares strategies for purchasing certificates based on experiences of Green Power Market Development Group partners and other companies

  • Makes recommendations to market participants and policymakers for addressing challenges and accelerating REC market development.

About this Series

The Corporate Guide to Green Power Markets is designed to help corporations understand, explore, and evaluate renewable energy opportunities. Published by the World Resources Institute, the Guide consists of a series of installments that will explore different aspects of corporate markets for green power, including:

  • The business case for green power
  • Major green power technologies including biomass, landfill gas (for electricity and for direct use), and wind
  • Strategies for corporate procurement of green power and methods for evaluating green energy opportunities
  • Policies for addressing obstacles to the creation of a robust corporate market for green power.

Installments will include useful tools, strategies, and case examples of corporate experiences with green power.

The series will be based on WRI's experience with the Green Power Market Development Group. Installments will be published approximately every quarter over 18 months (starting July, 2002). If you would like free hardcopies of installments to be mailed to you, please complete the mailing form.