A renewable energy certificate (REC) represents the environmental attributes or benefits of renewable generation such as wind, solar and geothermal power.
Renewable power generation displaces less environmentally friendly generation that burns fossil fuels and causes air and water pollution. The electricity produced by renewable generation is comparable to electricity produced by conventional generation. But, displacing fossil fuel generation leaves a positive environmental impact.
As renewable generators produce electricity, they create one REC for every one megawatt-hour (or 1,000 kilowatt-hours) of electricity. RECs account for the associated attributes of renewable-based generation. Each REC includes the following information:
- The underlying source of energy generation
- The location of the generation facility
- The year of generation, or "vintage"
- Other characteristics associated with the generator, such as eligibility for state renewable portfolio standards (RPS)
In 2020, we retired 18,578 RECs on behalf of our Greenpower customers. The purchase and retirement of these RECs helps support the renewable investments made by our community.
On behalf of Greenpower customers, we retire the corresponding quantity of RECs associated with Greenpower megawatt-hour "sales" on an annual basis through the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS).
How we meet state renewable portfolio standards
Many states have a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requiring that renewable energy sources produce a specific amount of energy. A utility can meet this standard by either developing its own renewable energy facilities to produce RECs, or it can purchase RECs from others that own renewable energy facilities, such as solar electric generation or wind farms.
We have ownership in several renewable projects that produce RECs, so we're not currently purchasing RECs from outside sources.
Please note that voluntary participation in our Greenpower program supports the retirement of renewable energy certificates above and beyond those required by Oregon standards.
Here is a copy of our current Oregon RPS Compliance Report.