As one of the compliance options for meeting the emissions reductions set forth in its Clean Power Plan, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging states to leverage renewable energy policies, such as existing renewable portfolio standards (RPS). The North Dakota Alliance for Renewable Energy (NDARE) invited David Farnsworth to explain the role renewable energy tracking systems can play in state compliance with the Clean Power Plan.

When tracking renewable energy for compliance with state renewable policies or voluntary green goals, the generation attributes are viewed separately from the underlying energy. A renewable generator may sell the environmental and non-power attributes of renewable energy separately from the underlying power via a renewable energy credit (REC). Several multi-state tracking systems throughout the country already certify and track the ownership and retirement of RECs for the purposes of compliance with state RPS policies. These same tracking systems could be used to document emissions reductions associated with renewable energy as part of a state’s plan to meet the Clean Power Plan. Mr. Farnsworth co-authored an in-depth look at RECs entitled “Tracking Renewable Energy for the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Guidelines for States to Use Existing REC Tracking Systems to Comply with 111(d).”