Reducing your Carbon Footprint with RECs and EFECs
As we continue our series exploring strategies organizations can implement to reduce their carbon footprint, this post explores the next steps in the sustainability journey by evaluating organizations’ energy sources and ways to mitigate emissions through decarbonization.
While decarbonizing your organization’s energy supply may seem daunting, there are a variety of options to consider. Your organizational objectives should inform whether your plan focuses on renewable energy supply, supply from carbon-free non-renewable resources, or a combination of both. With guidance from an energy supplier, your business can navigate the energy solutions that can help decarbonize your organization’s energy supply, a crucial step towards meeting your overall environmental goals.
Choose Carbon-Free Energy Sources
Emission-Free Energy Certificates (EFECs) allow businesses to quickly begin their process towards achieving and claiming lower emissions. EFECs represent one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated from an emission-free source, typically nuclear energy. By purchasing EFECs matching all or a portion of your organization’s electricity usage, your organization is supporting emission free generation sources, while reducing emissions associated with its annual electricity usage. This is an especially effective solution for:
- Organizations that are not well-positioned to source their power from onsite renewable sources based on land or capital limitations
- Organizations that do not have a specific sustainability roadmap established but want to communicate their incremental efforts and impacts
- Assisting your company in meeting goals for lowering emissions associated with its annual electricity consumption1, 2
Champion Carbon Reduction
Another option is by matching all or a portion of your organization’s annual electricity usage with Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). RECs serve as a way to incentivize renewable energy generation and support the development of clean energy projects. They provide a means for businesses, organizations and individuals to claim the environmental benefits of renewable energy without having to physically consume the electricity generated from renewable sources. Each REC represents the environmental benefits of one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated by a renewable power plant and is retired on behalf of your environmental commitment.
RECs can be purchased as a block or a percentage of your electricity supply to match a percentage of your organization’s annual energy use and:
- Claim a reduction in “Scope 2” greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity use.1, 2
- Purchasing RECs helps to support facilities that generate clean, renewable energy.
- NewMix® RECs purchased are sourced from wind and/or solar energy facilities in the lower 48 states.
Choose your Purchasing Strategy
RECs and EFECs can be bought as either load following or block purchases. Load following purchases match every unit of electricity consumed by the organization with an equivalent amount of renewable or carbon-free energy generated and added to the grid. The organization receives a REC or EFEC for each unit of renewable or carbon-free energy generated, which it can use to offset its own greenhouse gas emissions. This ensures that the organization’s electricity usage is directly matched by the generation of renewable energy.
With some timing and deadline limitations, a customer may purchase REC or EFEC blocks to match historical consumption and/or they can purchase REC or EFEC blocks to match expected or projected volumes.
For example, a company could be hosting a conference and want it to be powered by sustainable energy. It can buy a block of REC or EFECs for the duration of the conference. For example, an organization would look to purchase an 800 MWh block of EFECs for the conference.
Another example would be a company that wants to meet its sustainability goals, estimating it uses 3,000 MW a year based on its historic load. The company can buy a block of RECs or EFECs for that amount and then buy more, if needed, towards the end of the year.
Take Action Today
Both products provide flexibility to meet regulatory requirements or voluntary sustainability goals. RECs and EFECs can be purchased, transferred and tracked easily and reliably.
“While investing in RECs or EFECs comes with a small incremental cost, it creates the opportunity for a business to quickly indicate to its customers and shareholders that it has started the process toward achieving sustainable practices.” – Raj Bazaj, Vice President of Sustainability Solutions, Constellation
No matter how your organization leverages available carbon reduction options, when it comes to your company’s commitment to decarbonization, feel free to begin incrementally and progress at the speed and complexity needed to help achieve your corporate efficiency commitments. RECs or EFECs offer a method for organizations to begin decarbonization of their energy supply, while working toward fully carbon-free energy supply through offsite renewable purchases or hourly carbon-free energy matching.
Ready to work with energy experts who have the tools to easily connect your energy usage to your sustainability goals? Constellation can help your organization set a pathway to a more sustainable future.
Learn more about building your sustainability roadmap with our new white paper.
Interested in reading our previous posts in this series? We’ve explored critical foundations like establishing your GHG emissions baseline to understand your current footprint, connecting energy usage to business goals to drive reductions, and implementing energy efficiency to reduce consumption. With the foundational strategies from these four blogs, your business should be well equipped to continue your business’s sustainability journey.
1 Check your GHG reporting protocols to confirm.
2 Based on current World Resources Institute (WRI) guidance. Scope 2 reporting claims of this product may be affected by future changes.