PR Log - Jul 24, 2012 - SAN FRANCISCO— 3Degrees, a five-time winner of the U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Supplier of the Year Award, today announced the public launch of three new Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) products — Regional Green Power RECs, Catalyst Wind RECs, and Brighter School Solar RECs. As with 3Degrees' other voluntary REC offerings, these RECs are certified by Green-e Energy, the nation's leading voluntary certification program for renewable energy.
With these new 3Degrees products, organizations can not only match their electricity use with renewable energy, but also specify the type of green power projects they want to generate this energy. For example, customers can make green power commitments designed to increase demand for green power generated in specific areas of the country (Regional Green Power RECs). Customers can make commitments designed to increase demand for wind power from projects that have come online on or after January 1, 2011 (Catalyst Wind RECs). And they can make commitments designed to increase demand for solar power from projects that are located at K-12 public schools (Brighter Schools Solar RECs).
"As organizations across the United States increasingly use RECs to take responsibility for the environmental impact of their energy use, many have expressed the desire to make green power commitments that help encourage development of specific types of renewable energy projects," said Steve McDougal, President of 3Degrees. "Our new products provide these organizations with the opportunity to increase demand for renewable energy generated by particular kinds of green power projects, helping them encourage further development of such projects."
RECs Designed to Support Specific Types of Green Power Projects
The three new renewable energy products launched by 3Degrees today are: • Regional Green Power RECs: Designed to help encourage regional green power project development, this new product enables organizations to purchase renewable energy generated by green power projects located in the Midwest, South, Pacific Northwest, and other specific regions of the country. • Catalyst Wind RECs: Created to help support brand-new wind farms, this product enables customers to purchase renewable energy generated by wind projects that have come online on or after January 1, 2011. • Brighter School Solar RECs: Generated by photovoltaic solar power projects located at schools across the United States, this product enables organizations to signal their demand for the installation of more solar power systems at public schools.
These three new products join 3Degrees' existing U.S. Green Power and U.S. Wind REC products, and its Project-Specific REC products. With these new products, 3Degrees customers can now choose to match their electricity use with renewable energy generated by various types of green power projects located across North America, or instead specify the location, technology type, or even name of the project from which their RECs are sourced.
Positive Response from Green Power Project Owners, Customers, and Advocates
Project owners, who utilize RECs to monetize the environmental benefits associated with their projects, expressed optimism that the new products could help further increase demand for renewable energy.
"Voluntary green power commitments increase national demand for renewable energy, but sometimes customers have difficulty understanding how these purchases support green power projects," said Ann Jones, Chief Business Officer of the San Jose Unified School District. "However, by targeting particular kinds of green power facilities, such as solar power projects located at U.S. public schools such as San Jose Unified School District's 5.5 megawatt solar system, new renewable energy products like Brighter Schools Solar RECs can help customers better understand how green power commitments encourage the development of specific types of renewable energy generation."
“At a time of low natural gas prices and thus low power prices, REC revenues are an increasingly important component of wind project finance,” said Morgan McGovert, Senior Vice President of Idaho Winds LLC, developer of the Sawtooth Wind Farm Project. Located in Elmore County, Idaho, the 22 megawatt Sawtooth Wind Project came online in 2011, and is an example of the type of project that would generate RECs for 3Degrees' new Catalyst Wind REC product.
Initial customer response to the new RECs offerings has been positive, with corporate green power champions, such as Sprint, including the new offerings in their 2012 green power commitments.
"Sprint purchased 3Degrees' Catalyst Wind, Brighter Schools Solar, and Project Specific RECs to build on its already strong commitment to green power and to align with other corporate responsibility goals we feel are important like supporting the greening of schools, and investing in wind and solar projects," said Amy Hargroves, Group Manager of Corporate Responsibility at Sprint. "With these products, Sprint has been able to match a portion of its electricity use with renewable energy, more than doubling our commitment since 2010. We are also proud that our commitment to green power has placed Sprint on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Green Power Partner list at #14 (as of 2Q' 2012) within the Fortune 500, by far the highest ranking U.S. wireless carrier on the list today. "
How Do RECs work?
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), also known as a Renewable Energy Credits, are created when green power projects generate renewable energy and deliver this energy to the power grid, or "the grid."
The grid is segmented into regional power networks called pools. 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. (These attributes include the tons of greenhouse gas that were avoided by generating electricity from renewable resources instead of conventional fuels, such as coal, nuclear, oil, or gas.) These renewable attributes are sold separately as renewable energy certificates (RECs).
One REC is issued for each megawatt-hour (MWh) unit of renewable electricity produced. The electricity that was split from the REC is no longer considered "renewable" and is cannot be counted as renewable or zero-emissions by whoever buys it.
Purchasers of RECs are buying the environmental benefits of renewable energy, which helps offset conventional electricity generation in the region where the renewable generator is located. Green-e Energy Certified RECs are not sold more than once or claimed by more than one party, and since they are sold on the voluntary market, they cannot count towards a state’s renewable-energy mandate.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Union of Concerned Scientists, and other leading renewable energy and environmental organizations support the use of RECs as a way for organizations to purchase renewable energy and help accelerate the nation's transition to a low-carbon, renewable energy economy.
"The voluntary green power market continues to be an impressive intersection of innovation by renewable energy suppliers and purchasing leadership by American energy users," said Blaine Collison, Program Director of the EPA Green Power Partnership." This ever-expanding intersection of supply and demand are accelerating America's clean energy industries."