When it comes to purchasing renewable energy, you have limited choices as consumers. One way to support renewables and to help mitigate your carbon impact is through the purchase of renewable energy credits, or RECs.
But what is the best way to purchase RECs?
When businesses decide they would rather purchase renewable energy than continue to support fossil fuels, they have limited options. They can install an onsite generation system like a solar panels or buy renewable energy credits (RECs) from an electricity broker or utility.
There are many common misconceptions about purchasing green power from a utility versus an independent broker. It might make sense to challenge your current beliefs.
If I go through my utility, I’m buying clean energy. If I buy RECs, I am just buying an “offset” that is inherently less valuable than buying green power.
When you buy green power from a utility, all you are buying is delivered power and a REC together on one bill: your electricity and an “offset.” RECs are simply the way green power is tracked and traded in North America – whether in a utility program or direct purchase. Unfortunately, there is no way for the utility to guarantee that the actual electrons produced at a wind or solar farm find their way across the miles of power lines to your specific business. Clean electrons just get mixed in with all the other power from carbon-based sources (e.g. coal) and delivered to whatever energy user is closest or most convenient.
Whether you buy green power from a utility or from an independent broker like Better Cost Control, you are ensuring that the amount of electricity you use has been injected onto the national power grid from a renewable source and that you are the only one who can claim that clean energy. RECs are RECs whether they are bundled with your electric bill or purchased separately from your delivered power.
Buying green power through my utility does more to encourage the growth of renewables than buying RECs directly.
Wind developers need to sell their RECs to encourage the growth of new facilities. Whether the RECs are sold to a utility or a REC retailer before they are sold to you makes no difference.
Most utilities are still primarily profit-driven, fossil fuel-based companies. While some are truly committed to sustainability, many are not actively pursuing new renewable sources of energy unless mandated by law.
Buying RECs, be it through a utility or directly from a broker, helps encourage green power developers to build new wind farms, solar plants, and other facilities. As to whether buying from the utility provides more encouragement than buying directly, it’s safe to say that most utilities make decisions to support renewables vs. fossil fuels based solely on legislation and profit rather than the number of RECs actually sold through their green power programs.
I can’t purchase Green Energy because I have an electricity contract that doesn’t expire for another ten months.
You can purchase RECs regardless of whether you have an electricity contract or no. In fact, you can even purchase RECs in states that do not offer deregulated electricity. This means that any company can offset their carbon footprint from electricity up to 100% buy purchasing RECs. You can contract for as little or as much annual electricity usage as you would like. And it only takes a single payment, if you would like.
Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) are a bargain.
As of 5/29/2012, you can buy RECS at surprisingly low prices to offset all or some of your carbon footprint. If you use 1,000,000 kWh/year, you can offset 100% of your carbon footprint for only $2,580/year, even if you already have an electricity supply contract in place.
For more information, call 617-332-7767 or use this contact form so that one of our REC experts can contact you directly!