A rec for RECs: Incorporate hourly generation data into credits

Kelsey Kane-Ritsch (kk3395)

  1. Sustainability Problem (Energy): Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) have gained mainstream popularity and acceptance as a method of measuring and achieving sustainability goals via renewable energy procurement. Yet, buying RECs does not necessarily reduce an entity’s reliance on dirty energy in their immediate regional market, especially when using intermittent renewables. There is currently no recognized system of verifying renewable electricity supply on an hourly basis. Better information and data transparency is needed to facilitate the understanding of when a company’s energy is truly generated through renewable electricity.
  2. Solution: EnergyTag has produced a framework for developing hourly renewable energy certificates.  The EnergyTag initiative is a global coalition of corporate, non-profit, and energy industry reps working to set a standard for an hourly time-stamped energy certificate and guidelines for a voluntary market. This would be done by adding timestamps to energy attribute certificates (or EACs) which would then connect them to the physical availability of clean energy at specific moments in time. One goal is to improve accuracy of sustainability claims while also improving public perception of clean energy claims as going beyond greenwashing. The transparency provided by this hourly tracking could also trigger incentives for energy storage.
    The actual tech framework is being applied within existing certification systems, such as the Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (M-RETS) which will begin collecting and integrating hourly generation data from Midwest markets into its REC provision decisions.
  3. Stakeholders:
    • Stakeholders include corporations with significant renewable energy consumption, including Google and Microsoft;
    • Significant energy producers such as Engie energy;
    • And key players in the energy certification market, such as M-RETS.
  4. Implementation:
    • EnergyTag has already completed an initial implementation step which was developing their Granular Energy Certificates report.
    • The next implementation step involves outreach to grid operators and big energy producers and consumers to get them on board with the benefits of incorporating more data into an hourly certificate system.
    • The third step would be building out this new capability in pilot projects that would show functionality of and interest in a voluntary market for hourly RECs.

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