Renewable Energy (RE) technology has created alternative options for those looking for sustainable opportunities to generate electricity. For those that are not able to produce their own Renewable Energy, there are Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Also referred to as Green tags, Renewable Energy Credits, or Tradable Renewable Certificates, RECs make it possible for the average consumer to purchase RE directly from the provider. Here we will show you how REC programs work.

What is Considered Renewable Energy?

Renewable Energy is the energy that is produced by harnessing power from renewable resources which are naturally replenished. Aside from the more commonly known types of renewable energy, there are others that are not as widely known.

The following list contains the various forms of recognized Renewable Energy:

  • Solar Power
  • Wind Power
  • Hydroelectric (Water Power)
  • Geothermal Energy
  • Bioenergy

How Energy is Generated and Delivered

From fossil-fuel based power plants to wind turbine farms, all power generators produce electricity. The electricity is delivered by way of the electric power grid; a series of power lines routed to every property (commercial and residential) in a municipality.

There is really no way of knowing if the power being used at any given time is actually generated using renewable energy. RECs were created to make the distinction between energy that is produced using renewable energy or traditional methods.

What are RECs?

Renewable Energy Certificates each represent a unit of energy equal to megawatt (1,000 kilowatts) hour produce by an RE provider. This means that every megawatt hour produced represents a REC that can be sold. Even those that create their own RE on site, RECs are generated. If you need help determining your energy needs and options, there are energy consulting firms that will gladly assist you with this part of the process.

How RECs are sold

There are systems in place that track every megawatt hour produced by producers and fed to the energy grid. A number is assigned to every REC that is created. Each time a REC is purchased, it is removed from the purchase platform and made unavailable to anyone else.

The EPA Green Power Partnership was developed to create a network and marketplace for energy providers and consumers. You can purchase RECs directly from your utility company’s Green Power Program. There are long-term contracts available for businesses and consumers with high-energy demands.

Supporting the Future

The underlying essence of REC programs is increasing the demand for RE in places that are not known for RE production. Megawatt hours can be purchased from the producer even if they are states away from the consumer. The more consumers participate in the REC market; the more RE power plants will be built to facilitate the growing demand.


The prospects of a renewable future are up-and-coming, and although we have a long road to a world entirely powered by RE, programs like the Green Power Partnership make it possible to participate in the push toward a more sustainable future.