Photo: "Summer Evenings at the River" by Jessica Kirste, www.jessicakirste.com.
State Spotlight: Arizona
CRS staff often interacts with state regulators to help educate them about the voluntary renewable energy market and help them make informed decisions on issues that affect clean energy in their state. We recently had the opportunity to do so again in Arizona.
In an ongoing process at the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), CRS worked with the Solar Energy Industries Association, Renewable Energy Markets Association, Western Resource Advocates, and the Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO) to educate the ACC about the impact of ACC Staff's proposal to count renewable energy certificates from distributed generation (chiefly rooftop solar) towards the state's obligations under its renewable portfolio standard (RPS, currently 15% by 2025). Several of the proposed alternatives, including "Track and Record" and "Track and Monitor," could have resulted in double counting—allowing certificates not owned by the utilities to count towards their RPS compliance obligations.
Earlier this Spring, CRS Executive Director Jennifer Martin traveled to Arizona as a witness for RUCO to explain the size and impact of the voluntary market in a hearing held by an administrative law judge.
In 2011, the annual Green-e Energy verification process found that Arizona had nearly 3,000 residential customers and over 140 non-residential customers purchasing renewable energy in the voluntary market, and nearly 30,000 MWh of renewable energy generated in Arizona was sold into the voluntary REC market to customers inside and outside of the state.
Lead staff: Robin Quarrier, CRS Counsel. Contact her at robin [at] resource-solutions.org.
Green-e Certification in LEED v4
On November 20, the U.S. Green Building Council will release the latest version of its green-building standard, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED v4 will incorporate many improvements to its credit for renewable energy and carbon offsets, including increasing the amount and duration of purchases, and requiring Green-e certification or equivalent for both green power and offsets.
CRS was actively involved in the public comment periods and submitted several rounds of comments (all are available at CRS Publications). Here is a summary of the changes:
Green Power. In order to achieve points for green power, LEED v4 will require use of renewable energy generation that came online in 2005 or later, and that LEED projects purchase 50% or 100% of their electricity use for a minimum of five years (under the Building Design + Construction [BD+C] and Interior Design + Construction [ID+C] rating systems), to be delivered annually. Qualifying renewable energy must be Green-e Energy certified or equivalent.
Carbon Offsets. In order to achieve points for carbon offsets under LEED v4, they must be used to cover emissions associated with 50% or 100% of on-site energy use (with BD+C and ID+C), such as from natural gas or propane, or electricity. The LEED rating system for Existing Buildings doesn't require a specific percentage, but will award points up to 100%. All qualifying offsets must be Green-e Climate certified or equivalent.
For more information, watch our recent LEED, Renewable Energy, and Carbon Offsets webinar, and review the Speaker Deck.
Agenda Posted for
Renewable Energy Markets 2013
With REM 2013 only 6 weeks away, time is running out fast to join renewable energy leaders at companies like Intel, Google, SC Johnson, Jackson Family Wines, and Walmart; government representatives from across Texas and the country; and leaders from the nation's top utilities and power providers at the most important conference of the year for participants in clean electricity markets.
See the draft REM 2013 Agenda for the latest update on speakers, sessions, and side events—new speakers are added daily. With over 80 speakers and more than 25 sessions covering every aspect of regional and national renewable energy markets, REM is guaranteed to offer the news, information, and connections you need for your business.
Held at the Hilton in exciting Austin, TX from September 22–24, the conference is adjacent to the downtown Austin Convention Center and walking distance to Second and Sixth Streets, and the Warehouse District. Register today and don't miss out on the opportunity to help set the clean energy agenda for the year to come.
Visit the REM 2013 Website »
Green-e Climate News: American Carbon Registry Joins As Endorsed Program
In June, Green-e Climate welcomed its fifth Endorsed Program, the American Carbon Registry (ACR). Endorsed Programs are carbon offset project-level certification programs that have been approved by the Green-e Governance Board, and their role is to ensure offsets in Green-e Climate come from the highest-quality projects available. Eligible Emissions Reduction Tons issued by ACR are now available for use in Green-e Climate certified offset products sold by retailers to organizations and individuals looking to mitigate their contribution to climate change.
Founded in 1996 as the first private voluntary greenhouse gas registry in the world, ACR develops standards, methodologies, protocols, and tools for voluntary carbon reduction projects around the globe, and the organization also oversees offset project registration, verification, and credit issuance on its registry system. ACR is also an approved Offset Project Registry for California's recently launched cap-and-trade program.
For more information, read our June 18, 2013 Release.
Expert Assistance: New York State Energy Research & Development Authority
CRS is part of a team led by Sustainable Energy Advantage assisting the state of New York as they develop an attribute tracking system. The New York Generation Attribute Tracking System (NYGATS) will cover electricity consumed and/or generated in the state of New York. This new electronic tracking system is intended to support New York's Environmental Disclosure Program, and compliance and voluntary markets for renewable energy, among other state policies and programs.
Lead staff: Rachael Terada at rachael [at] resource-solutions.org.
The Legal Basis for Renewable Energy Certificates
There is a strong legal basis for the use of renewable energy certificates (RECs) as instruments that represent the attributes of renewable electricity generation. RECs are used to demonstrate renewable electricity purchasing, delivery, and use within the broader context of functioning voluntary and compliance renewable electricity markets. This document provides a summary of selected sources on the definition and function of RECs in the U.S. Read the Paper »
Webinar: Introduction to Green-e Climate (Free)
Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 10:00 am PT. A free webinar about the Green-e Climate certification program and how it works within the larger voluntary carbon offset market. The webinar will cover the basics of carbon offset projects and international offset trading; how carbon offsets serve to reduce global carbon emissions; the unique role of Green-e Climate certification and the benefits it confers on certified products; how Green-e Climate protects consumers by ensuring clear title to carbon offset purchases that are as advertised; and how consumers, businesses, and offset sellers can become involved with Green-e Climate. Register Now »
Webinar: Renewable Energy 101 ($45)
Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 11 am PT. This essential introduction to renewable energy in the U.S. covers the basics of how the U.S. electricity grid operates, and the expanding role of clean energy to the nation's energy portfolio. This hour-long webinar also reviews renewable energy terms and definitions, types and distribution of resources like wind and solar, the basics of transmission and project financing, renewable energy certificates and utility opt-in green power programs, and certificate tracking. We will also cover the state of the renewable energy marketplace, including politics, players, and policies. Register Now »
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
In April, CRS received funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to produce a set of recommendations for protecting carbon markets from "boiler room" activity, which refers generally to the use of high-pressure and deceptive sales tactics to sell investment products to individuals, often resulting in investor fraud. The project, to be completed over the next year, seeks to bring key stakeholders together to assess the scope and scale of boiler room activity in carbon markets, generate a set of actionable measures for better identifying boiler rooms and similar activity, and describe the market conditions and any infrastructure or other tools that may preclude and address boiler room activity and help protect buyers and investors in the market. Green-e Climate staff have begun reaching out to stakeholders for initial input and planning.
CRS depends on grantmakers like Rockefeller Brothers Fund and donations from individuals and organizations to help support the important work it does every day to promote clean energy solutions. To become a CRS donor, visit our Support Us page.
Green-e Climate's governing documents and website have recently been updated to reflect the endorsement of the American Carbon Registry (ACR) and its eligible project types. Also, following public consultations earlier this year, the Green-e Governance Board has approved revisions to the Green-e Climate Standard in version 2.1. The updated standard and a summary of changes are available here. Documents related to the stakeholder consultations for both the Standard updates and the endorsement of ACR are available here.
New References to Green-e Climate. Green-e Climate is now referenced in the Climate Registry's General Reporting Protocol v2.0 (pg. 136), and also by the California Energy Commission (CEC) in the revised California Renewables Portfolio Standard Eligibility Guidebook (pg. 22). These are added to existing references to Green-e Climate in the Cradle to Cradle Product Certification program (silver, gold, and platinum levels), and in the Living Building Challenge as a requirement for carbon offsets. Finally, Green-e Climate has been included in the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership and Energy and Environmental Design version 4 rating system for green buildings, expected for release later this year.
Topping the Top Ten. Once again, Green-e Energy certified green electricity programs were very well represented on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's annual "top ten" lists of program sales, participation rates and more. Of the 32 programs featured on one or more lists, 18 were Green-e Energy certified in 2012; congratulations! High-ranking utilities offering certified programs include: Austin Energy (#2 in total sales); PacifiCorp (#2 in total customers); City of Palo Alto (#1 in customer participation); Waterloo Utilities through WPPI (#1 in renewable energy as a percent of load); Indianapolis Power & Light (#4 in price premium charged); Sacramento Municipal Utility District (#1 in solar supply). See them all in the NREL press release.
2012 Sales Reporting. Sellers of Green-e Energy certified renewable energy must annually report on certified sales made in the previous year. Reporting of 2012 sales was due July 1 and staff is reviewing and compiling data, and will release final certified sales figures once internal checks are complete. So far 2012 looks to be another banner year for the voluntary market and Green-e Energy certified sales, with unaudited reporting totaling 31.6 million MWh of retail certified sales, and 42.6 million MWh of total certified sales (including wholesale). For more on verification reporting, see Green‑e Energy Verification.
Pasta Prima, a brand of the California-based Valley Fine Foods, purchases Green-e Energy Certified renewable energy certificates along with an on-site solar energy installation to match the electricity used to manufacture their brand of fresh pasta products. You will find a variety of flavors at their online shop or look for them in a grocery store near you.
For more information, visit Pasta Prima. Learn more about Green‑e Marketplace.
Meeting Department Administrative Assistant
Rachel Bastida graduated from Hope International University in 2011 with a degree in communications. While in school, her passion for public relations and event coordination led to several opportunities working on exciting programs and campaigns, including the 2012 Newport Beach Film Festival. Rachel loves traveling, enjoying a good cup of coffee, and dancing to Beyoncé, in that order. She is thrilled to have joined CRS in May 2013 and looks forward to aiding in the preparation of the 2013 Renewable Energy Markets conference.
Green-e Energy Volunteer
Whitney was the Senior Planning Deputy for Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl. In this capacity, she advised the Councilmember on land use and policy related to transportation, zoning, entitlements, development, and housing. Prior to joining the Council Office, Whitney worked in the private sector writing environmental impact reports and as a project manager for Pacific Charter School Development overseeing the construction and opening of a charter school. Whitney completed a dual master's degree in Urban Planning and Latin American Studies at UCLA. Her B.A is in Geography/Environmental Studies from UCLA. She loves cycling, swimming, and yoga.
Green-e Energy Verification Associate
Seth joined CRS in June, 2013 as a Green-e Verification Associate. He has a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of Regina and fifteen years of experience in the field of software quality assurance. He graduated from U.C. Santa Barbara with a Master's degree in Environmental Science in June 2011. Since graduating, Seth has worked for the Institute for Environmental Research and Education developing life cycle assessments for businesses. He is excited to be contributing to the CRS annual verification program and learning more about renewable energy. Seth also enjoys farming, hiking, and tennis.
Green-e Energy Verification Associate
Matt joined CRS in June 2013 as a Green-e Verification Associate. He graduated from The University of Oregon with a degree in Environmental Studies in 2012. Matt has interned with multiple organizations in San Francisco and Eugene, Oregon that promote sustainability, responsible development, reductions in carbon emissions and other pollutants, and advocacy for environmental health. He has a passion for environmental issues, especially those relating to renewable energy, environmental justice, and sustainable development and growth.
Green-e Energy Verification Associate
Josh first worked for CRS in Summer 2012 and is back this Summer working as a Green-e Verification Associate. He currently attends the University of Washington in Seattle and is double majoring in Environmental Studies and Economics. He has a specific interest in renewable energy generation, government environmental policy, energy efficiency, and energy markets. At the University of Washington, Josh was part of the UW Lacrosse Team as well as the Campus Sustainability Fund, a student-run grant-giving program that awards funds to student-led sustainability projects on campus.
Green-e Energy Verification Associate
Sara Seacat is a Junior at U.C. Berkeley pursuing a major in Environmental Science. Her interest in climate change and sustainability spurred her participation in environmental clubs of all sorts at U.C. Berkeley before she found her niche in renewable energy and energy efficiency. At CRS, she works on the annual Green-e Energy verification review process and has endeavored to research foreign renewable energy markets. In her free time, Sara enjoys puns, witticisms, gymnastics, and puzzle challenges.