Give the Gift of Renewable Energy Certificates

Give the Gift of Renewable Energy Certificates

Taryn Williford
Dec 14, 2010

What do you get for the guy who has everything? Renewable energy, of course. We're seeing charitable gifts come into vogue, much to the delight of humankind everywhere, in the form of gift donations and subscriptions. So why not give the gift of renewable energy for your have-it-all techie friend?

How it Works:

Somewhere, a green energy provider (like a wind farm or solar plant) cranks out green energy into the electrical grid. It's credited with one renewable energy certificate (or "renewable energy credit") for every 1,000 kWh of electricity it produces.

A certifying agency is charged with accurately counting and selling these RECs into the open market. Each provider maintains a unique ID to make sure no single watt of energy is counted twice.

How You Can Get One:

The U.S. Department of Energy maintains a list of certificate brokers on their website that offer to buy, sell and trade renewable energy certificates on behalf of green energy providers. The price to you? Roughly $5 per 1,000 kWh.

Purchase RECs through Element Markets and receive your certificate within 5 business days. Or, if you'd like to know that you're supporting a specific type of green energy, allows you to buy wind, solar or hydro RECs. Both sites are linked from the U.S. Department of Energy website and Green-e Energy Certified.

What You Can do With it:

Gift it to a friend. With their renewable energy certificate displayed on their wall, they'll know that their entire month (or more: The average house hold uses around 800 kWh of electricity per month) of who-knows-where-it-comes-from energy usage has been offset by a certified green energy provider.

(Images: Flickr member petter palander licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Port of San Diego licensed for use under Creative Commons, K Line America)

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