While there is nothing inherently wrong with RECs, the issue is that these certificates on the renewable energy market are not strictly regulated.
“To explain how this works in real life, RECs are typically bought after the renewable project was already financed and put together (again, the “project” may be a development such as a solar or wind farm). So, if these RECs were not purchased, this project would exist regardless of the entity contributing financially.”
Plus, once a certificate is used, it’s supposed to be retired. However, there have been incidents of an energy credit being used more than once. This circumstance essentially eliminates the RECs purpose.
In short, there’s not a lot of checks and balances in the renewable energy reseller market space. For example, nothing is stopping a company from claiming they offset 50 or 100% of their energy with a solar farm. Plus, many companies don’t disclose the exact locations they purchase their green energy from.
This system allows companies to claim that they are 100% renewable, when in fact, they are not contributing to lowering fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. Going back to the tree analogy, the companies are still leveling forests, but paying another entity to replant trees―trees that would have been planted regardless.
How to purchase RECs
At the end of the day, buying RECs is providing financial support for green energy creators, such as solar or wind energy farms. And buying RECs isn’t limited to corporations. Individuals can purchase RECs as well.
If you’re interested in purchasing renewable energy credits, check out these sites: