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California's 33% Renewable Energy Goal by 2020: Form or Substance? (Part II-RECs Required)

By Ulrich Decher -- August 11, 2011

Part I yesterday reviewed in-state electricity generation and power imports required to meet California’s current power demand. Part II today shows how Renewable Energy Credits may be used to meet California’s aggressive renewable energy goals.

Renewable Energy Credits

Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) are the power generation credits that a distribution system can use to meet its renewable portfolio. These RECs come in two flavors—bundled and unbundled. The bundled RECs are the credits that are bought and used within the same distribution system; unbundled RECs are those bought by one distribution system but used in another. These RECs are managed by the Center for Resource Solutions, which also prevents double counting of credits.

Unbundled RECs are particularly interesting, because it means that a distribution system doesn’t need to build renewable energy power plants because the distribution system can simply buy the renewable power that is generated in another distribution system.