Renewable energy credits, or RECs, are one of the environmental instruments that make what we do at Cloverly possible. You might never have heard of them. Here's a quick explanation:
Q. What are renewable energy certificates?
A. They represent all environmental benefits of a certain amount of electricity that has been delivered to the electric grid from a renewable source. New RECs are created each time a renewable energy project creates 1,000 kWh of electricity that is delivered to the grid.
Q. How much does a REC cost?
A. Whatever someone is willing to pay. The market sets the price. Over time this price has fluctuated depending on what sources were more in demand and the general supply/demand of the market.
Q. Why would anybody want to buy a REC?
A. Historically, there have been two uses for RECs: compliance fulfillment and voluntary claims. In many states, electric utilities are required to source a minimum percentage of their electricity from renewable sources like wind or solar. Utilities prove compliance by showing the paper trail of RECs to correlate with their production. In certain cases where they’re projecting to fall short of those goals the utility can purchase RECs to fill the gap. This just means that the utility is buying the rights to the renewable aspects of energy delivered to the grid, which allows it to meet its standards.
Cloverly lives in the voluntary claims side of the market—where companies and customers can cover their emissions the same way utilities in compliance markets do. We buy RECs in order to move the world toward carbon neutrality and voluntarily cover our associated emissions with RECs. For years, many large companies and individual households have made similar purchases to cover those emissions coming from their electricity usage. With Cloverly we hope to open up this market to a new use and increase demand for the product.
Q. Um, that seems kind of nebulous. What's the tangible benefit for my business?
A. Buying renewable energy certificates through Cloverly verifies that you’re reducing your business’s carbon footprint. That sustainability claim is important to an ever-increasing number of consumers. Younger consumers are especially interested in how companies manage environmental impacts, and they’re the ones who will be your customers (or not) for the next 50 years.
Q. OK, but what about individual consumers? Why would they voluntarily add an extra charge to their purchases?
A. To do their part to reduce carbon emissions by investing in the growth of renewable energy. Literally. Renewable energy credits provide an additional revenue stream for renewable energy producers, helping make new projects viable. So those producers can develop new facilities. And the world can get greener.