Beyond conserving energy through efficiency, the best action to reduce your carbon footprint from electricity use is to employ renewable energy. Why? Renewables produce minimal environmental impact, avoiding the net carbon emissions associated with fossil fuel based sources. Currently 13% of the nation’s electricity comes from renewable resources – we want to help that number climb.
Wholly renewable energy is good for the environment and good for business."
Renewable projects generate electricity that goes on the grid and renewable energy certificates (RECs), which represent the environmental benefits of the energy produced by the projects. The sale of RECs helps subsidize current renewable energy projects and encourage further investment.
By choosing RECs, individuals, communities, universities, sports teams, utilities, Fortune 500 corporations, mid-sized businesses and mom and pop shops are making a statement to their peers and stakeholders that they are committed to a sustainable energy future. RECs are a method of promoting the shift to cleaner electricity, energy independence and a green power economy.
In recent years there has been an increased focus on sustainability initiatives in corporate America. The movement has been spurred on by two facts – 1. Customers respond positively to companies that care and 2. Sustainability is cost effective and improves the bottom line. Many organizations choose renewable energy to acknowledge and improve their environmental footprints, to show their commitment to green power as a force for positive environmental and social change, and to take a stand as climate leaders in their industries.
Sterling Planet is proud to have offered the first national REC product in 2001. Since then, we have sold billions of Green-e® Energy certified kWh of renewable energy certificates, enough to avert more than 20 billion pounds of carbon dioxide and earn ranking as the leading supplier to business customers. Sterling Planet also teams with electric utilities to deliver ‘green power’ options to their customers and develop new generators using renewable resources.
Looking to the future, Sterling Planet is also bringing new sources of renewable energy production on line. The company’s pipeline includes more than 100 megawatts of new generating capacity.
Whether the renewable energy is in the form of green power, RECs or onsite power production, this sustainable energy is viable and gaining significant market traction. Beyond environmental benefits, renewable energy sources increase energy security and boost economic development.
Green-e Energy RECs
When a renewable energy facility operates, it creates electricity that is delivered into a vast network of transmission wires, often referred to as “the grid.” The grid is segmented into regional power pools; in many cases these pools are not interconnected. To help facilitate the sale of renewable electricity nationally, a system was established that separates renewable electricity generation into two parts: the electricity or electrical energy produced by a renewable generator and the renewable “attributes” of that generation. The renewable attributes or “green” attributes are sold separately as renewable energy certificates (RECs). Only one certificate may be issued for each unit of renewable electricity produced. The electricity that was split from the REC is no longer considered "renewable" and cannot be counted as renewable or zero-emissions by whoever buys it.
Your purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) supports renewable electricity production in the region of generation. A REC represents the environmental benefits of 1 megawatt hour (MWh) of renewable energy. For every unit of renewable electricity generated, an equivalent amount of RECs is produced, and by purchasing and pairing RECs with your electricity service you are using and receiving the benefits of that renewable electricity. Your REC purchase also helps build a market for renewable electricity. Increased demand for, and generation of, renewable electricity helps reduce conventional electricity generation in the region where the renewable electricity generator is located. It also has other local and global environmental benefits which may include emitting little or no regional air pollution or carbon dioxide.
EKOenergy, a Global Label
EKOenergy is currently the only international ecolabel for renewable electricity. The EKOenergy label is a not-for-profit initiative of the EKOenergy Network, a group of 40 (and counting) environmental organizations from 30 countries. EKOenergy started in 2013 in Europe and is gradually increasing its global reach. Every member organization appoints one person to the EKOenergy Board, the Network's highest governing authority. The Board takes decisions in consultation with the Advisory Group, which consist of experts from different stakeholder groups, including electricity industry, consumers and environmentalists, among others.
Additionally, EKOenergy sets sustainability criteria for electricity production while funding new renewable energy installations through its Climate Fund. It is important to note that EKOenergy certification is accepted by LEED for building certification and CDP for Scope 2 reporting.
1 REC = 1 MWh of green, renewable energy when paired with the equivalent amount of electricity. Using RECs to offset your electricity use from conventional resources guarantees that the volume purchased has been placed onto the power grid.