Many states and utilities offer opportunities to purchase renewable energy directly from your electricity service provider. Consult Green-e for opportunities in your area.
In areas where you cannot purchase renewable energy through your existing provider, your organization may want to consider enrolling in a utility green pricing program or purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs), which ensure that energy providers deliver renewable electricity to the grid that is equal to the amount you consume. Whichever option you choose, you can make sure the renewable energy you purchase meets the highest standards of environmental quality by looking for credible third party certification like Green-e. Visit Green-e for a list of REC providers in your state. The EPA’s Guide to Purchasing Green Power is an excellent reference, with step-by-step instructions and lists of available resources.
The cheapest, cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use. Before purchasing renewable energy, consider improving the energy efficiency of your facilities. With the money you save, you can consider investing in renewable energy and still reduce your overall energy bill.
What are Renewable Energy Credits?
RECs represent an investment in renewable energy generation projects. Instead of buying renewable energy directly from your electricity provider, purchasers of RECs ensure that renewable facilities deliver clean energy into the grid and displace nonrenewable energy sources. By helping to substitute fossil fuel generation with renewables, your organization helps to prevent emissions of greenhouse gases. RECs are not the same as carbon offsets, which are designed to offset carbon emissions associated with energy use. For more on carbon offsets, see the Carbon Offsets section of this guide.
Renewable Energy Benefits
By investing in renewable energy, you are helping to finance renewable energy products across the country. Fossil fuel energy generation – for electricity, transportation, and industrial uses – is the principal cause of air pollution and global warming. By purchasing renewable energy, your organization can reduce its demand for fossil fuel energy and also reduce its contributions to smog, acid rain, pollution-related illness, and global warming.