9 Best Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) (Complete 2023 List)

9 Best Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) (Complete 2023 List)

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Grace Smoot

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Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) are physical documentation that proves 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable energy has been added to our energy grid. RECs can help aid in the transition away from traditional fossil fuels and towards more renewable energy sources. So, we had to ask: what are the best RECs?

The best Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) are offered by Terrapass, ClimeCo, and South Pole which all help advance the renewable energy market. In addition, 3Degrees supports solar energy projects in Uganda and the US, and Native Energy invests in various renewable energy projects across the US.

Keep reading to learn more about the best Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), how REC projects work, and what their respective costs are. At the end of the article, we’ll also share with you how effective and efficient RECs are, what their pros and cons are, and how these RECs can help mitigate climate change.

Here’s What All the Best Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) Have in Common

Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) are a specific type of Energy Attribute Certificate (EAC), physical documentation that proves 1MWh of renewable energy has been added to the energy grid. EACs go by different names in different regions of the world. RECs simply refer to the EACs located in North American markets.

Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) are the currency of the renewable energy market in North America, representing the attributes of renewable energy that are generated and delivered to our power grid. They are measured in megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable electricity and target scope 2 emissions, or the emissions associated with purchased electricity. 

REC: a market-based instrument that represents the property rights to the environmental, social, and other non-power attributes of renewable electricity generation”

United States Environmental Protection Agency

RECs can come in two forms:

  • Bundled: The REC is sold together with the energy associated with it. 
  • Unbundled: The REC has been separated from the physical electricity it represents. 

They act as an accounting or tracking mechanism for renewable energies as they are incorporated into the power grid. Because we cannot distinguish energy generated from renewables and that produced by other sources, some form of tracking is required. To prevent someone else from claiming it, each REC can be uniquely numbered, tracked, and retired in the tracking system.

Unbundled RECs have seen rapid growth in the past decade, increasing from 19.8 million MWh in 2010 to 86.4 million MWh in 2020. They are now the most common form of green-power procurement in the voluntary market.

Related: Are you interested in learning more about the big picture of renewable energy credits (RECs)? Check it out in this article here: “What Are Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) and How Do They Work? The Big Picture

These Are the 9 Best Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) in 2023

Below are our favorite renewable energy credits (RECs) (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)Quick Facts
TerrapassAbout: Terrapass offers RECs that support renewable energy projects such as wind and solar farms.
Costs: $15.00 per MWh
South PoleAbout: South Pole offers RECs that support renewable energy projects including geothermal, small hydropower, and solar.
Costs: Determined after initial contact
ClimeCoAbout: ClimeCo’s RECs are sourced from a variety of renewable energy resources and can be purchased on a commercial or wholesale basis anywhere in the US.
Costs: Determined after initial contact
3DegreesAbout: 3Degrees offers RECs that support renewable energy projects including solar projects in Uganda, Kentucky, and Massachusetts. 
Costs: Determined after initial contact
Native EnergyAbout: Native Energy offers RECs that support wind, solar, wind/ solar hybrids, landfill gas, small-scale hydro, and biomass renewable energy projects across the US.
Costs: Determined after initial contact
Act CommoditiesAbout: Act offers Renewable Energy Quota Certificates (REQCs) for purchase on the mandatory market and Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs), which includes RECs, for purchase on the voluntary market.
Costs: Determined after initial contact
Bonneville Environmental FoundationAbout: Bonneville Environmental Foundation offers RECs that support wind and solar renewable energy projects. They also offer stacked RECs. 
Costs: $8.00 per MWh 
Anew EnvironmentalAbout: Anew Environmental offers RECs that support renewable energy projects such as wind and solar farms.
Costs: Determined after initial contact
GO2 MarketsAbout: GO2 Markets offers wind, solar, biomass, hydro, thermal, and geothermal RECs dependent on the geographic location of your energy consumption.
Costs: Determined after initial contact

Terrapass: RECs for Individuals and Businesses

Screenshot of the Terrapas renewable energy credits project page

Terrapass was founded in 2004 by Dr. Karl Ulrich to reduce as many carbon emissions as possible via the use of education, online tools, carbon offsets, and renewable energy. Today, they provide verified carbon offsets and RECs involving renewable energy, landfill gas capture, and forestry.

“Restore the balance.”

Terrapass

Renewable energy credit overview: Terrapass offers RECs that support renewable energy projects such as wind and solar farms. An example project is the Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm project, a 75-wind turbine facility with a total capacity of 112.5 MW located in the United States (US).

Renewable energy credit effectiveness: Terrapass uses the Verified Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry, and the Climate Action Reserve to help ensure transparency and quality in the creation, quantification, and verification of their projects.

Renewable energy credit costs: You can make a one-time REC purchase or subscribe to a monthly plan both at a cost of $15.00 per MWh.

How to get your renewable energy credits: You can purchase your one-time and monthly subscription RECs through the Terrapass website.

South Pole: Providing the Tools to Achieve a Low-Carbon Reality

Screenshot of the South Pole renewable energy page

South Pole was founded in 2006 by 5 graduate students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) as a platform to confront climate change. Today, they offer a wide variety of climate solutions including environmental credits, carbon offsets, RECs, and a portfolio of over 700 verified carbon reduction projects.

“From ambition to action”

South Pole

Renewable energy credit overview: Examples of South Pole’s renewable energy projects include geothermal energy in Indonesia, small hydropower in China, and solar in Argentina. South Pole then sells RECs generated from those projects to individuals and businesses.

Renewable energy credit effectiveness: South Pole RECs carry eco-labels including, but not limited to, CDP, LEED, Gold Power, EKOenergy, and Green-e® Energy, an independent, third-party verification system and the leading renewable energy certification and verification program in North America. Their renewable energy projects are certified by the Verified Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry, and Climate Action Reserve. They are also aligned with the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Renewable energy credit costs: Costs are determined after initial contact.

How to get your renewable energy credits: You can visit South Pole’s website and contact a representative to get your RECs.

ClimeCo: A Leading Global Environmental Credit Project Developer

Screenshot of the ClimeCo renewable energy credits page

ClimeCo was founded in 2009 by William E. Flederbach Jr., Yuda Saydun, and Markus Althausen to develop emission-reduction projects at US nitric acid plants. Today, they have evolved into a global environmental commodity and sustainability solution developer that specializes in RECs, carbon offsets, plastic credits, Forecasted Mitigation Units (FMUs), criteria air pollutants, and water quality credits.

“Go beyond business as usual.”

ClimeCo

Renewable energy credit overview: ClimeCo began issuing Green-e® Energy certified RECs in 2020. Their RECs are sourced from a variety of renewable energy resources and can be purchased on a commercial or wholesale basis anywhere in the US.

Renewable energy credit effectiveness: ClimeCo RECs are certified by Green-e® Energy, an independent, third-party verification system and the leading renewable energy certification and verification program in North America. ClimeCo also has its own annual verification process which includes an audit.

Renewable energy credit costs: Costs are determined after initial contact.

How to get your renewable energy credits: You can visit the ClimeCo website to connect with a team member. 

3Degrees: Renewable Energy And Emission Reduction Solutions

Screenshot of the 3Degrees renewable energy page

3Degrees was founded in 2007 by Steve McDougal and Dan Kalafatas to impact the REC, carbon offset, and green power industries. Today, they help organizations around the world achieve decarbonization and renewable energy goals via the use of carbon credits, RECs, renewable natural gas certificates, and climate consulting.

“Making climate action possible.”

3Degrees

Renewable energy credit overview: 3Degrees RECs support projects including, but not limited to, the Uganda solar P-REC project, the Kentucky Solar Stewards project, and the Bluehub High Impact Solar project in Massachusetts. These projects help provide electricity to rural areas, reduce homeowner energy bills, and improve air quality.

Renewable energy credit effectiveness: 3Degrees RECs are certified by Green-e® Energy, an independent, third-party verification system and the leading renewable energy certification and verification program in North America. REC projects also meet one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Renewable energy credit costs: Costs are determined after initial contact.

How to get your renewable energy credits: You can visit the 3Degrees website to learn more and get a quote. 

Native Energy: Changing the World Through Climate Projects

Screenshot of the Native Energy front page

Native Energy was founded in 2000 by Jeff Bernicke as a platform for organizations to implement projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.  

Today, they offer carbon offsets and renewable energy solutions that provide clients the opportunity to invest and enable the development of new climate projects with direct business benefits.

“Envision your ideal climate solution. Let us build it.”

Native

Renewable energy credit overview: Native invests in wind, solar, wind/ solar hybrids, landfill gas, small-scale hydro, and biomass renewable energy projects across the US. They then offer the resulting RECs to individuals and businesses looking to invest in renewable energy.

Renewable energy credit effectiveness: Native Energy RECs are certified by Green-e® Energy, an independent, third-party verification system and the leading renewable energy certification and verification program in North America.

Renewable energy credit costs: Costs are determined after initial contact.

How to get your renewable energy credits: You can visit their website to learn more and contact a team member to get your RECs.

Act Commodities: A Global Provider of Market-Based Sustainability Solutions

Screenshot of the Act Commodities front page

Act Commodities was founded in 2009 by Bram Bastiaansen in response to the creation of the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). Today they provide market-based environmental solutions involving renewable energy, emissions, energy efficiency, renewable fuels, and renewable feedstocks.

“Enabling a sustainable economy”

Act Commodities

Renewable energy credit overview: Act offers Renewable Energy Quota Certificates (REQCs) for purchase on the mandatory market and Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs), which includes RECs, for purchase on the voluntary market. To date, Act has sourced approximately 168 TWh of renewable energy

Renewable energy credit effectiveness: Many of Act’s RECs also carry eco-labels including, but not limited to, EKOenergy, REDcert, and Green-e® Energy, an independent, third-party verification system and the leading renewable energy certification and verification program in North America. 

Renewable energy credit costs: Costs are determined after initial contact.

How to get your renewable energy credits: You can get in touch with an Act representative to get your RECs.

Bonneville Environmental Foundation: Water, Carbon, and Energy Solutions

Screenshot of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation front page

Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) is a national non-profit organization founded in 1998 by Todd Reeve to help solve water, energy, and climate challenges. Today they aim to restore the balance between people, nature, and business via water, carbon, and energy solutions.

“Our water, climate, and energy challenges are urgent. And solvable.”

Bonneville Environmental Foundation

Renewable energy credit overview: BEF’s REC portfolio includes wind and solar energy. BEF also offers stacked RECs, which combine carbon offsetting and RECs, as well as international RECs, upon inquiry.

Renewable energy credit effectiveness: BEF RECs are certified by Green-e® Energy, an independent, third-party verification system and the leading renewable energy certification and verification program in North America. They also count towards LEED® certification and adhere to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Renewable energy credit costs: It costs $8.00 per MWh of renewable energy (per REC) delivered to the power grid.

How to get your renewable energy credits: Visit BEF’s website to purchase your RECs.

Anew Environmental: Climate Solutions as a Service

Screenshot of the Anew Environmental front page

Anew Climate was formed in 2022 as the result of a merger between Bluesource and Element Markets. Today, they offer carbon, emissions, and EV credits as well as natural climate solutions, RECs, and renewable natural gas (RNG). 

“Committed to a better tomorrow.”

Anew

Renewable energy credit overview: To date, Anew has been involved in over 30 million REC transactions across the voluntary and compliance markets. They serve REC buyers and sellers looking to reduce Scope 2 carbon emissions via the use of solar and wind farms. 

Renewable energy credit effectiveness: Anew’s North American RECs are verified, registered, and standardized. Their international RECs are verified, registered, and overseen by the International REC Standard.

Renewable energy credit costs: Costs are determined after initial contact.

How to get your renewable energy credits: You can get started as a REC supplier or REC buyer by visiting Anew’s website and contacting a representative

GO2 Markets: Facilitating the Trade of Environmental Commodities

Screenshot of the GO2 Markets front page

GO2 Markets (GO2) was founded in 2013 by Garzay Ahmadi with a mission to bring efficiency, transparency, and passion to environmental markets. Today, they facilitate the global trading of environmental commodities including energy efficiency certificates, biogas, carbon emission reduction, power purchase agreements, and renewable energy.

“Join the green revolution”

GO2 Markets

Renewable energy credit overview: GO2 offers wind, solar, biomass, hydro, thermal, and geothermal RECs dependent on the geographic location of your energy consumption. They work with you to switch your energy consumption to being renewable energy-derived.

Renewable energy credit effectiveness: GO2 RECs carry eco-labels including, but not limited to, EKOenergy, LEED, Grüner Strom, and Green-e® Energy, an independent, third-party verification system and the leading renewable energy certification and verification program in North America. 

Renewable energy credit costs: Costs are determined after initial contact.

How to get your renewable energy credits: You can visit GO2’s website to contact a representative and get your RECs.

How Effective and Efficient Are Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)

In terms of effectiveness, renewable energy credits (RECs) reduce your own carbon emissions and bolster the renewable energy market. However, they often lack additionality.

In terms of efficiency, renewable energy credits (RECs) are cost-effective and increase the efficiency of the power grid. However, they also may have intermittent energy production problems associated with renewable energy.

RECs are effective at mitigating climate change because they:

However, RECs can also lack effectiveness because additionality is not guaranteed. Renewable energy projects are already in high demand and would have been built regardless.

RECs are efficient at reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions because they:

However, RECs can also lack efficiency because they share some of the overall problems associated with renewable energy including intermittent energy production, geographic limitations, and ever-fluctuating quantities of energy.

Related: Are you interested in learning more about how effective and efficient renewable energy credits (RECs) are? Check out the full article here: “How Effective and Efficient Are Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)? Here Are the Facts

What Are The 6 Pros and 4 Cons of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)

Renewable energy credits (RECs) reduce your own carbon emissions, bolster the renewable energy market, are cost-effective, promote the decentralization of our energy supply, are a low-maintenance form of carbon emission reduction, and are environmentally-friendly.

However, RECs often lack additionality, do not guarantee carbon avoidance, occupy an oversaturated market, and may have intermittent energy production problems associated with renewable energy.

Related: Are you interested in learning more about the pros and cons of renewable energy credits (RECs)? Check out the full article here: “Renewable Energy Credits (RECs): All 6 Pros and 4 Cons Explained

What Are the 6 Pros of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)

RECs have various pros that go beyond simply reducing carbon emissions, they also contribute largely to the advancement of the renewable energy market.

6 Pros of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)Quick Facts
#1: RECs reduce your own carbon emissionsWhen you purchase a REC, you source your energy from renewable resources rather than from fossil fuels. Since renewables have a lower carbon footprint than fossil fuels, your carbon footprint decreases as you use RECs.
#2: RECs bolster the renewable energy marketRECs represent the creation of new renewable energy to be supplied to our power grid. They can reduce the demand for “dirty”, fossil-fueled energies and increase the demand for renewable energies, bolstering the market.
#3: RECs are cost-effectiveRECs certified by Green-e®, the governing body that tracks and retires certified RECs in North American markets, cost approximately $8 per REC,  which is cheaper than direct carbon capture ($250-$650 per ton) and reforestation ($50 per ton). 
#4: RECs promote the decentralization of our energy supplyRECs draw renewable energy from various geographic locations, so the grid can distribute power from multiple plants. This decentralization in turn reduces peak time usage and decreases the likelihood of power outages.
#5: RECs are a low-maintenance method of carbon emission reduction With RECs, the purchaser does not have to maintain any renewable energy infrastructure, making them a low-maintenance form of carbon emission reduction that can incentivize the switch to renewables even more.
#6: RECs are environmentally-friendly RECs are sourced from renewable energy sources, which each come with their own set of environmental benefits. Biomass is less environmentally-friendly than the other 6 renewable energy sources.

What Are the 4 Cons of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)

Understanding the drawbacks of RECs is important when implementing this strategy on a large scale in order to mitigate climate change.

4 Cons of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)Quick Facts
#1: RECs often lack additionalityRECs are often not additional because most projects receiving REC revenue now would have been built regardless.
#2: RECs do not guarantee carbon avoidanceRECs bolster the renewable energy market and increase renewable energy supply to the power grid, but they do not curtail energy from fossil fuels or limit their production. RECs allow purchasers to write off their carbon emissions without requiring them to reduce their current emissions.
#3: RECs occupy an oversaturated marketOne main problem with RECs is that the market is oversaturated due to the thundering success of the renewable energy market, and RECs are now so cheap to buy that they are not a big enough revenue source to make a difference on a large power project. 
#4: RECs may have intermittent energy production problems associated with renewable energyBecause RECs are sourced from renewable energy, they also share some of the same drawbacks as renewable energy. Different renewable energy sources are abundant in different regions of the world, and some are only generated at certain times of the day.

How Can Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) Help Mitigate Climate Change

Climate change is a severe and long-term consequence of fossil fuel combustion. Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) can help mitigate climate change because they increase the market for renewable energy and incentivize the switch away from traditional fossil fuels, which emit billions of tons of carbon every year. Atmospheric carbon can remain in circulation for tens of thousands of years and exacerbate the negative effects of climate change.

How is Climate Change Defined

Climate change is arguably the most severe, long-term global impact of fossil fuel combustion. Every year, approximately 33 billion tons (bt) of CO2 are emitted from burning fossil fuels. The carbon found in fossil fuels reacts with oxygen in the air to produce CO2

Climate change: changes in the earth’s weather, including changes in temperature, wind patterns and rainfall, especially the increase in the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere that is caused by the increase of particular gasses, especially carbon dioxide.

Oxford Dictionary

Atmospheric CO2 fuels climate change, which results in global warming. When CO2 and other air pollutants absorb sunlight and solar radiation in the atmosphere, it traps the heat and acts as an insulator for the planet. Since the Industrial Revolution, Earth’s temperature has risen a little more than 1 degree Celsius (C), or 2 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Between 1880-1980 the global temperature rose by 0.07C every 10 years. This rate has more than doubled since 1981, with a current global annual temperature rise of 0.18C, or 0.32F, for every 10 years. 

As outlined in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, we must cut current GHG emissions by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050

How Do Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) Generally Help Mitigate Climate Change

Levels of carbon in our atmosphere that cause climate change have increased as a result of human emissions since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in 1750. The global average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today registers at over 400 parts per million. RECs can help prevent these levels from increasing even more.

When you hear the word “REC”, think about the term “renewable energy”. RECs represent the creation of renewable energy to be supplied to our power grid. RECs can reduce the demand for “dirty”, fossil-fueled energies by bolstering the renewable energy market. 

RECs that are certified by verified third parties and are a part of renewable energy projects that are carried out until the end of their lifespan have the best chance of reducing carbon emissions and therefore mitigating climate change. 

When we reduce CO2 emissions we also slow the rate of global temperature rise, which in turn minimizes the effects of climate change. 

How Do Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) Specifically Help Mitigate Climate Change

Renewable energy credits specifically help mitigate climate change because they bolster the renewable energy market, which reduces the demand for fossil fuels and subsequently reduces carbon emissions.

Renewable energy is important to meet Paris Climate Agreement targets because it reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, which produce carbon that can remain in our atmosphere for tens of thousands of years.

Final Thoughts

Terrapass, South Pole, and ClimeCo are the best RECs. 3Degrees supports solar energy projects in Uganda and the US, and Native Energy invests in renewable energy projects across the US. Act Commodities offers RECs on both the voluntary and mandatory market whereas Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Anew Environmental, and GO2 Markets offer RECs that support a variety of renewable energy projects.

RECs can help shift focus away from traditional fossil fuels and towards incorporating more renewable energy into our power grid. But for all of the good RECs can instigate, they should not be seen as the only solution to climate change. Because additionality is not required and they do not guarantee carbon avoidance, RECs fail to reduce CO2 enough in the long term. 

When used in conjunction with direct CO2 reduction measures, RECs can be much more effective. We should reduce our own carbon footprint as much as possible first, and only then choose the most effective RECs.

Stay impactful,

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Grace Smoot

Grace loves to research and write about all things related to climate action and sustainability. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology and works as an Environmental Survey Technician. Outside of work, she loves to work out, play soccer, and take her dog for long walks.

Did you know that the internet is a huge polluter of the environment? But fortunately not this site. This site is powered by renewable energy and all hosting-related CO2 emissions are offset by three times as many renewable energy certificates. Find out all about it here.

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