Renewable Energy, Carbon Offset & Other Energy FAQs
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We’ve provided answers to commonly asked questions regarding energy. If you do not find the answers you are looking for, please contact us toll-free at 1-877-208-7636 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is energy derived from natural resources that replenish themselves over a period of time without depleting the Earth’s resources. These resources also have the benefit of being abundant, available in some capacity nearly everywhere, and they cause little, if any, environmental damage. Energy from the sun, wind, and thermal energy stored in the Earth’s crust are examples. For comparison, fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas are not renewable, since their quantity is finite—once we have extracted them they will cease to be available for use as an economically viable energy source. While they are produced through natural processes, these processes are too slow to replenish the fuels as quickly as humans use them, so sources will run out sooner or later.
What is a carbon offset?
A carbon offset is a reduction of greenhouse gasses measured in tons of carbon dioxide or methane avoided, sequestered or destroyed. Projects such as avoiding deforestation, planting of trees, methane management (such as cow ‘gas’), and management of landfill waste gases are the types of projects that aim to reduce the amount of carbon released into our atmosphere and have a ‘credit’ value.
What are RECs?
Generally, RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates) are tradable, contractual instruments that represent the full suite of attributes of 1 Megawatt-hour of renewable energy generation on the electricity grid. RECs are the sole means to claim usage of grid-connected renewable electricity in the United States, and the compliance instrument for consumption- or delivery-based state Renewable Portfolio Standards. Renewable electricity generation and use are tracked through RECs, and so by matching RECs with your electricity service you are using renewable electricity. A REC represents the environmental benefits of 1 megawatt-hour of renewable electricity that can be paired with electricity For more information on RECs please see this video.
What is the difference between a REC and a Carbon Offset?
The difference is that a REC represents the environmental benefits of a MWh of renewable electricity generation and so it can be said to “offset” the emissions of a single MWh of average electricity generation. A carbon offset can be matched with emissions from other sources of greenhouse gas emissions (not just electricity generation), like flying and driving. A REC is a measure of the overall environmental benefits associated with the generation of 1 MWh of renewable electricity. These benefits include the fact that few if any greenhouse gases and other pollutants are being emitted from this generation.
A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for or to offset an emission made elsewhere.
Offsets are typically achieved through financial support of projects that reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in the short- or long-term. The most common project type is renewable energy, such as wind farms, biomass energy, or hydroelectric dams. Others include energy efficiency projects, the destruction of industrial pollutants or agricultural byproducts, destruction of landfill methane, and forestry projects. Eligible carbon offset projects need to be registered and recorded on a verified carbon registry, Spring Power & Gas sources their Carbon Offsets from a project that promotes forestry in the Amazon registered with Verified Carbon Standard.
What is the CIKEL Project?
Zero Gas is powered by The CIKEL Project and works to avoid CO2 emissions by avoiding planned deforestation. The CIKEL Project helps reduce 9.4 million tons of CO2 emissions that would have been emitted into the atmosphere over the next 10 years.
The CIKEL Project was the first REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) project within the Verified Carbon Standard framework in the Amazon.
* Disclaimer: Please note that the above information regarding RECs is not state specific. Each state has its own REC requirements. The REC programs utilized by Spring Power and Gas to match energy consumption and offset gas consumption go above and beyond those legal requirements in each individual state.