Agencies can purchase renewable power or renewable energy certificates ("green tags") from a utility or other organization. These certificates can be good choices for facilities where on-site projects are cost prohibitive to construct or utility budgets are too limited to afford high green power price premiums. Using renewable sources for a percentage of a facility’s energy requirements can help an agency meet its federal renewable energy goal.
There are three different methods for purchasing renewable power:
Regulated Utility Green Pricing Programs
Some utilities have voluntary programs that allow customers to sign up to purchase renewable energy. Federal agencies can participate in most of these programs and competition is not required. To find out if a utility has a green pricing program, consult the Green Pricing map and the Green Pricing spreadsheet on the Green Power Network website.
Competitive Renewable Power
In states with competitive electricity markets, federal agencies can purchase renewable power through competitive electricity procurements. The Green Marketing map on the Green Power Network website shows states that have competitive renewable power product offerings. Both GSA and the Defense Energy Support Center can assist federal agencies with electricity procurements that specify a percentage of renewable power.
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) Purchase
Agencies can purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs), also known as "tradeable renewable certificates", "renewable energy credits," "green energy certificates," or "green tags"—an attractive option in locations where renewable power is not readily available. RECs represent the environmental attributes of renewable generation and can be sold separately from the electricity.
Federal agencies that purchase renewable power may be eligible to join the EPA Green Power Partnership (GPP), a voluntary program designed to reduce the environmental impact of electricity generation by promoting renewable energy. FEMP can help agencies determine the best renewable power purchase option in an area and provide agencies with Green Power Partnership requirements and application procedures. Contact a GSA Energy Center of Expertise associate, DOE Regional Office FEMP representative, the FEMP Renewable Purchasing Experts listed under contacts, or a local utility to find out more about these options.