EPA, GSA, and World Bank Seek to Buy Renewable Energy Credits

EPA, GSA, and World Bank Seek to Buy Renewable Energy Credits

Government agencies are finding the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs) to be a simple way to meet their renewable-energy goals. In recent weeks, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), and the World Bank Group (an agency of the United Nations) have sought to buy as much as 272,000 megawatt-hours per year of RECs to supply their facilities. To generate that much renewable power would require a 100-megawatt wind power plant operating at about 30 percent capacity.

A solicitation issued in mid-July through the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) -- an agency that handles many government contracts -- seeks to spend $750,000 over the next three years to buy RECs from solar, wind, geothermal, or biomass energy sources for the EPA's Research Triangle Park facility in North Carolina. In late July, the Western Area Power Administration issued a request for more than 17,000 megawatt-hours per year to serve EPA facilities in Kansas, Colorado, and California over the next one to three years. And last week, the GSA issued a request for nearly 55,000 megawatt-hours per year over at least three years to supply the EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The GSA request also seeks just over 13,000 megawatt-hours for the EPA Headquarters for September alone.

The GSA also issued requests last week for 45,000 to 90,000 megawatt-hours per year of RECs to supply the World Bank Group for the next two to four years, and is also seeking to supply its own facilities with renewable energy. In two requests for RECs issued by the GSA last week, the agency seeks 60,000 megawatt-hours per year to supply GSA's facilities in the Great Lakes Region for up to a year and a half, and also seeks between 20,000 and 50,000 megawatt-hours per year to supply GSA's facilities in the Mid-Atlantic Region for up to three and a half years.

RECs -- also called Tradable Renewable Credits or "green tags" -- are created when a renewable energy producer sells its electricity in the power markets without taking any credit for the source of that power; the credits are then sold separately to buyers that want to take credit for the benefits of the renewable power generation. Federal agencies are striving to obtain 2.5 percent of their electricity from renewable energy by 2005, and thanks largely to RECs, they were about three-quarters of the way there as of March. For more information, see DOE's Green Power Network Web site, the Green-e Web site, and the "Federal Requirements" section of the Federal Energy Management Program Web site.

This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.