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Renewable Energy Tracking and Claims: Experience from the United States (Clean Energy Solutions Center)

8 July 2015

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Presentation—Introduction to the webinar and panelists (PDF)

Presentation—Jennie Heeter: Renewable Energy Tracking and Claims: Experience from the United States (PDF)

Transcript—Webinar audio transcript (PDF)

The Clean Energy Solutions Center, in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, hosted this webinar on U.S. experiences with renewable energy tracking and claims.

Because the flow of electrons cannot be traced from generator to consumer, some accounting mechanism is needed to ensure that renewable generation is being added to the grid. In the United States, the concept of renewable energy certificates (RECs) emerged as a way to demonstrate compliance with renewable portfolio standards (RPSs), which require utilities to supply a certain percentage of renewable electricity. One REC is equal to one megawatt-hour of renewable generation, and it can be sold separately from the underlying electricity.

More recently, RECs started to be used by voluntary purchasers – institutions looking to purchase renewable energy to match their electricity needs; for example, as part of a corporate sustainability initiative, or to make a marketing claim (e.g., “this product was made with 100% wind power”).

The presentation explored REC definitions, explained how RECs are tracked and traded electronically, and examined the tradeoffs to buying and selling RECs. The presentation concluded with a comparison of how renewable attributes are tracked in other countries. The presentation was followed by an interactive question and answer session with the audience.


Jenny HeeterJenny Heeter, Senior Energy Analyst, NREL

Jenny Heeter is a renewable energy analyst at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). She focuses her research on the voluntary green power market, renewable energy certificate markets, renewable portfolio standards, net metering policies and utility regulatory issues. Prior to joining NREL, she worked for the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, representing ratepayer interests in renewable energy and energy efficiency cases brought by utilities before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. She holds an M.P.A. in environmental policy from Indiana University-Bloomington’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a BA in political science and environmental studies from Macalester College.