REC Definitions and Tracking Mechanisms Used by State RPS Programs

Dr. Jan Hamrin for CESA

Almost all state RPS programs, as well as state programs to advance renewable energy goals, track compliance using renewable energy certificates (RECs). However, different states have defined a REC slightly differently and there are also differences in the specific environmental attributes that are embodied in a REC. In most cases, the differences are small enough that interstate renewable energy markets have been able to operate smoothly and seamlessly. However, there is some potential for confusion and complications, especially when RECs are transferred from one location to another that uses a different REC tracking system, or when an RPS intersects with a policy that may treat environmental attributes differently, such as a greenhouse gas reduction program.

To provide greater clarity and to help state renewable energy program administrators understand how their state compares to others, Dr. Jan Hamrin has written a report for the RPS Collaborative providing information on the use of RECs by states, on the definitions of a REC, and on the environmental attributes included in a REC. The report also discusses how different regional and state-based REC tracking systems handle these matters.

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Date: June 17, 2014

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