Pardon Our Dust
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In recent years, state emissions credit programs and policy have sought to incentivize only renewable electricity generation, leaving out other sources of zero-emissions generation. But that legislative and regulatory landscape is changing rapidly.
Over the past few decades, several states have set up renewable energy credit (REC) programs. In the most basic sense, RECs incentivize renewable electricity generation by allowing consumers to buy credits from renewable electricity generators. By purchasing credits from these generators, consumers — generally utility companies looking to comply with state energy standards, or organizations and individuals seeking to reduce their carbon footprint — can then offset the purchase of electricity elsewhere from nonrenewable generators.
One significant element of RECs is, as the name implies, that they are limited to only zero-emissions renewable sources — wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydro, etc. Therefore, they do not allow other nonrenewable zero-emissions sources of electricity generation — notably, nuclear — to participate. This specifically puts nonrenewable zero-emissions electricity generators and consumers at a disadvantage, as they cannot claim the same benefits that renewable electricity generators and consumers can through REC programs.
Several states recently began establishing zero-emissions credit (ZEC) programs. The premise of ZEC programs is mainly the same as that of REC programs: To incentivize nonrenewable zero-emissions electricity generation, consumers buy credits from nonrenewable zero-emissions electricity generators.
Below is a quick primer on where ZEC programs stand in the handful of states that have authorized them:
This article is part of a series of reports on our experience in the energy sector. Read other articles in the series:
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- Three Energy Policy Issues to Follow
- Wind Energy in Texas: Renewable Energy Landscape
- International Offshore Opportunities
- Offshore Oil and Gas, and Trump’s Five-Year Plan
- Creating Smart Messengers: Key to Generating Widespread Energy Project Support
- Fact Sheet: Natural Gas Pipeline Projects
- Legal/Public Affairs Combo Paves Path for Solar Energy Projects
- Solar Energy Trends in Florida
- Powering Up for the Future: Renewable Energy Trends in Virginia
- Fact Sheet: Cost of Solar