What are Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)? Sustainability Simplified Glossary

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Renewable energy certificates (RECs) are a tradable, market-based instrument representing the environmental attributes of electricity generated from renewable sources.  

When a renewable energy facility generates electricity from a renewable source, it produces two distinct elements: 

The physical electricity, which is the actual electrical energy generated by the renewable source. This is the energy that flows through power lines and powers homes, businesses, and industries. However, it doesn't inherently carry any environmental label or guarantee regarding its source. 

Alongside the physical electricity generation, the facility produces environmental benefits that can independently be bought and sold. These attributes confirm the positive environmental impact and incentivizes organizations to invest in renewable power sources.  

RECs are certified and tracked by independent organizations to ensure their authenticity. Certifying information such as the source, generation method, and the environmental benefits associated with that specific unit of renewable energy. 

RECs can help you to achieve two objectives simultaneously: 1) reduce the cost of your renewable electricity use and 2) to substantiate your claims of renewable electricity use and carbon footprint reduction.

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