The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines electricity produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact small hydroelectric sources as green power. Green power is renewable energy and represents those renewable energy resources and technologies that provide the highest environmental benefit.
Because utility companies struggle to create enough energy from green sources on their own, renewable energy credit (REC) programs allow them to buy documentation of renewable production and “take credit” for that generated power. One REC refers to one megawatt-hour (MWh) of energy produced or 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh). REC represents the environmental and social benefits that distinguish clean, renewable energy from conventional sources of energy, like coal. RECs make it possible for organizations to know that the electricity they are using is green with the Renewable Energy Certificates. The certificate proves that 1 MWh of renewable energy was generated. This video explains RECs.
Green Power Partnership
In 2001, the EPA established the Green Power Partnership to protect human health and the environment by increasing organizations’ voluntary green power use to advance the American market for green power and the development of renewable electricity sources. However, the EPA does not require Green Power Partners to purchase certified green power products. For best practices, it is strongly encouraged for organizations to purchase products that are certified by an independent third party. Third party certifications help ensure the quality of green power products and help build consumer confidence in the marketplace.
It is important to note the term “Green-e certifiable” or “Green-e eligible” is not sanctioned by
Green-e, and RECs that are marketed this way to consumers have not undergone verification or review by the Green-e Energy program. Organizations purchasing RECs should be aware that until a REC is sold as a certified product, it has not been reviewed or vetted by Green-e and is not considered Green-e Energy certified. To learn more on baseline criteria for Green-e certification standards, visit Green-e Certification Standards and for more information on the Green-e Energy program, visit Green-e Energy.
The key values to certification and verification of RECs is tracking the full chain of custody from the consumer all the way back to the generator. By doing this you ensure there is no double counting, double selling, or double claiming of RECs. This only occurs when you buy the certified product. To find Green-e Energy certified renewable energy products including RECs and green power programs, visit Green-e.
Last updated: October 23, 2018