What Is A Renewable Energy Certificate (REC)?

With sustainability moving into the forefront of global consciousness, renewable energy is becoming more important than ever. Developments in renewable technologies are making renewable energy more and more viable to adapt into our everyday lives.

But what is renewable energy and what does purchasing it actually mean?

Renewable energy is energy that is generated through resources that replenish themselves over and over again. These are unlike fossil fuels, which are limited in supply and will eventually be depleted. 

There are five types of renewable energy:

  • Solar: Energy harvested through sunlight.
  • Wind: Energy generated by wind and harvested through turbines.
  • Hydroelectric: Energy harvested by using running water to spin turbines. Other variations include using ocean tides or waves to generate electricity through saltwater.
  • Biomass: Energy harvested through organic matter, which is treated in different ways such as burning, fermentation, or heating to generate power in various forms.
  • Geothermal: Energy harvested through deep wells of water and steam, created when magma from the Earth’s core comes close to the surface.

Renewable energy has garnered a lot of interest from the general public in recent years.

How can I choose renewable energy?

Choosing renewable energy is one of the easiest ways to be more sustainable! Renewable energy plans allow you to reduce or completely offset greenhouse gas emissions that you would otherwise be creating through your electricity use.

What are Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)?

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), also known as green energy certificates or tradable renewable certificates are proof that energy has been generated from renewable sources such as solar or wind power. Each REC represents the environmental benefits of 1MWh of renewable energy generation. When you purchase RECs, renewable energy is generated on your behalf.

Will the renewable energy be delivered directly to my home or business?

When you purchase RECs it is guaranteed that renewable energy has been generated on your behalf and sent to the electrical grid, which is the network that delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers. However, once it enters the grid, it is impossible to distinguish where or how that electricity is being delivered. As more and more people purchase RECs, we become closer to true energy independence.

Although many of these sources such as hydroelectric power are still not feasible for public consumption due to cost and technological restraints, many new advancements have lowered the price of renewable energy drastically. Solar photovoltaic and wind power prices have dropped by nearly half since 2008. This trend makes all of us hopeful for a greener, more sustainable future. 

Great Eastern Energy (GEE) is proud to offer RECs to its commercial and residential electricity customers as part of our commitment to sustainability. This means you can now join us in reducing consumption and working toward a greener future by purchasing renewable energy to power your business. Customers who purchase renewable energy will also receive a GEE Green 2018-2019 sticker as a symbol of their commitment to go green.

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Sarah Kelly is Director of Marketing and Customer Experience for Great Eastern Energy. Sarah is responsible for overseeing Great Eastern Energy’s Client Services and Marketing teams. She is an industry veteran with over 15 years of experience in deregulated energy markets. Most recently she was Agera Energy’s VP of Marketing and prior to that she managed their Contract and Data Services team. Mrs. Kelly previously established Sunwave Gas & Power, a Canadian based company, as an energy supplier within several deregulated markets within the United States. Additionally, Sarah has held various operational and marketing positions at HOP Energy, U.S Gas & Electric, Gateway Energy, Hess Corporation and Select Energy. She holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

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