In our last newsletter we examined different types of Renewable Energy Sources. In this newsletter we follow up with a discussion of how to purchase renewable energy. If public relations surrounding your environmental stewardship are not enough to cause you to purchase renewable energy, there is a good chance that a federal or state mandate will do so in the near future. In an upcoming newsletter we will discuss the cost and ramifications of the "Cap and Trade" legislation making its way through the House and Senate. In this newsletter we will show you how IEC and its partners can help you purchase renewable energy now.
Sourcing Renewable Energy
There are two common ways to meet your renewable energy needs:
1. Sourcing energy directly from a renewable source/generator, or
2. Buying Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
Buying directly from a renewable energy supplier is not always practical or easy to transact. For
example, a company on the East coast would have difficulty getting energy directly from a wind farm located on the Great Plains. Scheduling direct transmission routes from a renewable energy source to an end-use customer often makes this option too expensive and cumbersome.
A more practical and commonly used approach to demonstrate your commitment to the environment, is with the purchase of renewable energy certificates. For every megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated by a renewable energy source, an REC is created. The renewable energy displaces the need for electricity generated from fossil fuel sources, often referred to as brown power. These RECs are given a unique serial number and then sold independent of the actual electricity flow. RECs were first traded in late 1990s and have gained popularity ever since. The buyer of an REC has the sole claim to that renewable generation and once the transaction takes place, the serial number is retired so no one else can claim the environmental benefits.
Why Choose RECs?
There are several advantages to choosing RECs over purchasing directly from a renewable energy supplier. To use energy directly from a renewable energy source requires complex scheduling and often involves working with multiple utility companies. Scheduling is a process of routing energy along a specific path once it hits the energy grid, much like planning a cross-country car ride. The energy flow passes from one utility system to another, each time adding cost, complexity and line losses, until it arrives at its final metered destination.
With RECs a customer is also able to choose a particular type of renewable energy. For example, a company may have strategic reasons for wanting to promote wind energy and could purchase RECs that were created by wind generation or even a particular wind farm. Promoting this fact with its customers could add to the company's image.
Independent Energy Consultants works with commercial, industrial, and governmental clients to make procuring RECs easy. We are a channel partner of World Energy Solutions, the leader in online exchanges of energy and environmental commodities. The World Energy Exchange transacts electricity, natural gas, fuels, and green power. In addition their World Green Exchange transacts renewable energy certificates and greenhouse gas emissions credits. World Energy works in all deregulated energy markets in the US and Canada, and in green commodities markets around the world. Let us bring that expertise and personalized service to your company.