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All You Need to Know About RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates)

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#john-droz">John Droz, Jr.</a> -- April 12, 2013

The government has created a market in “Renewable Energy Certificates,” also known as a “Renewable Energy Credit.” RECs are yet another way that renewable energy sources take advantage of the public’s good graces, and the propensity for some politicians to be fooled into creative ways to burden unsuspecting citizens.

As far as RECs have a public purpose, two fundamental questions are:

1) Do RECs pay for the generation of new renewable energy as claimed?

2) Do RECs offset fossil fuels as claimed?


RECs are sold in two primary markets:

1) some of the states that have RPSs (Renewable Portfolio Standards) allow part of the renewable mandate to be satisfied by the utility company purchasing RECs (instead of actually buying renewable energy electricity), and

2) businesses and individuals purchase RECs for perceived public relations benefits, or to ameliorate their conscience.