What is a Renewable Energy Credit?

BY: NEW ORLEANS EDITORIAL TEAM
October 12, 2022
What exactly is a REC?
As more people and companies are adopting greener ways of life, a great way to reduce the environmental impact of energy production is to support renewable energy programs. There are many ways to support renewable energy and buying RECs, or renewable energy certificates, is just one way. But what exactly is a REC? How do they work? How are they made and what are the benefits of buying them?  

The What

The simple answer is that a REC is a market-based instrument that certifies a certain amount of the electricity delivered to the electric grid is from a renewable source. Once delivered to the grid, it can then be sold as a commodity on the open market. This is important because each REC represents the environmental impact of 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated from renewable energy and once sold they are used to track renewable energy from its source (solar, wind, biomass, or hydro) all the way to someone who purchases green power. 

For example, if a solar facility produces 10 MWh of electricity, the producer has 10 RECs they can either keep or sell in the open market. If the solar facility chooses to sell them, residential customers and businesses may purchase RECs through programs like Entergy Green Select to supplement their electricity usage. The RECs verify that the megawatt-hours came from a renewable source and cannot be claimed by another person or company. Interested? Enroll in Green Select today.

The How
A REC is produced when one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity is delivered to the grid from a renewable energy source. After that, RECs are available to be sold to other companies or individuals on the open market. But that is not the end of story, because each REC is uniquely numbered, recorded and tracked to its purchaser and can only be used or counted by one electric customer. Each unique number includes information such as the date of generation, the generation location, and the type of renewable resource it came from, which allows companies who buy renewable power to demonstrate how much of their power use comes from renewable sources.

The Why
The grid can accept electricity from many different sources, including wind, solar, natural gas, hydroelectric, and nuclear power. It is important to be able to track which renewable energy sources are supplying the grid and how they are being dispersed. Purchasing RECs with your electricity is currently a way to trace the origin of the grid power that you use to a specific renewable energy source. 

Benefits of RECs 
Because RECs are tracked through established organizations (such as the North American Renewables Registry), it is easy to see the impact renewable energy is having on the grid and how it is reducing our carbon footprint. It is also a great way to provide customers with proof of a renewable energy use and demand source, this makes RECs an easy and affordable way to trace the origin of the power you get from the grid without the expense of installing solar panels or another renewable technology to supply your home or business. Buying RECs is a way to support renewable energy sources, while reducing the environmental impact of your energy use. You can buy RECs through Entergy Green Select today.  

Entergy’s Approach to RECs
Entergy New Orleans is committed to giving our customers who desire options related to meeting their sustainability goals access to renewable energy. Entergy Green Select is just one type of renewable option we are developing for Entergy New Orleans customers.   Entergy Green Select is Green-e certified - a certification developed the Center for Resource Solutions that verifies the integrity of RECs through the entire chain of custody. Green-e certification ensures that renewable energy sourced by Entergy New Orleans is from facilities that meet the Green-e requirements and is delivered exclusively to the purchaser of the REC, meaning not double-counted. 

Entergy is committed to providing our customers with renewable energy that can be made available quickly, easily, and affordably. We are constantly working for solutions that keep our customers happy and our world healthy. Enroll in Green Select to help reach your sustainability goals.

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