GreenBiz Program Information
Renewable Energy Benefits
Renewable energy is that energy which is produced from resources that replenish themselves naturally. Wind, solar, biomass, landfill gas, geothermal and small hydro are all examples of renewable resources.
There are many reasons to support new renewable energy facilities:
- They help reduce our dependency on imported fuels
- They often help local communities
- They are an important export technology for the United States
- You are showing support for the development of resources that do not pollute
- You are helping the renewable energy industry to maintain competition and to continue to grow and improve its great products
According to the Bonneville Environmental Foundation the national average for carbon dioxide emissions per kWh produced is 1.36 pounds. Therefore each kWh purchased from renewable resources reduces the amount of carbon dioxide otherwise released into the atmosphere by 1.36 pounds.
Renewable Energy Purchases
Renewable energy is purchased as a combined commodity which includes the renewable energy attribute (also call “Green Tags” or “Renewable Energy Credits”) and the actual energy produced. Utilities are also able to purchase each commodity separately.
When the energy component is purchased separately it has none of the environmental benefits associated with the renewable source. The Renewable Energy Credit (REC) verifies the renewable source of the energy production. In CPI’s case this source is verified by an independent renewable energy tracking system developed for the Western Electric Coordinating Council (WECC).
This tracking system called WREGIS (Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System) tracks renewable energy generation from units that register in the system using verifiable data and creates renewable energy certificates (RECs) for this generation. WREGIS Certificates can be used to verify compliance with state and provincial regulatory requirements (Renewable Portfolio Standards, for example) and in voluntary market programs.
RECs verify the sources of renewable energy production and represent the benefits of renewable technologies like wind, solar, biomass and small hydro. Each REC represents 1000 kWh of renewable electricity production.
Therefore, utilities who purchase RECs are reducing the amount of carbon dioxide produced and in turn are reducing the overall amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.
Renewable Energy Distribution
The energy produced from these resources is put into the WECC grid and mixed with energy from other generation resources. Therefore we can’t guarantee that the electricity you receive has come directly from one of these renewable resources. We do guarantee however that the renewable energy you have purchased has been verified by WREGIS as a qualifying resource that has been produced and added to the grid.