One of the key features of our environmental platform, Allinfra Climate, is the ability to create digital environmental financial products. Using the Allinfra Climate Dapp and underlying energy data captured by the platform, users are able to easily create, sell or retire a digital Renewable Energy Certificate, or a dREC™.
In this article, we will explain the meaning behind the term dREC. But first, it is important to first understand what renewable energy is and why certificates are created.
Renewable energy comes from natural processes that are constantly replenished, such as wind power and solar power. Compare this to non-renewable sources of energy like coal and oil. These sources of energy are typically not replenished, or take a very long time to replenish and can endanger the environment and human health, and are a contributor to climate change.
In many parts of the world, a certificate is created when a certain amount of electricity is generated by a renewable source of energy. This certificate is called a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC). It represents the green benefits associated with that renewable energy generation. RECs can also be called Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs), Renewable Energy Credits, Green Tags or Tradable Renewable Certificates (TRCs).
Typically, 1 REC is equivalent to 1 kWh or 1 MWh – these are units of energy consumption. For context, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,632 kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2021, an average of about 886 kWh per month.
RECs allow for significant flexibility in the climate and energy markets, as those without direct access to renewable energy sources can purchase these certificates and fund environmentally-friendly sources of energy.
For producers of green energy: when they sell a REC, they are essentially selling the “green bragging rights” to the renewable energy they produced, but they get to keep and use the actual energy – either for their own consumption or to sell to the grid.
For buyers of RECs: they are buying the green or environmental attributes – essentially they can claim that they have funded and used renewable energy equal to the amount of RECs purchased and retired.
A dREC is simply a digital representation of a REC that is permanently tied to verifiable digitally-captured data. That means, unlike traditional RECs, dRECs increase efficiency and transparency because they:
To learn more about why RECs and other environmental financial products are going digital, please see The Future of Environmental Financial Products is Digital.
The team at Allinfra believes that blockchain is a great technological solution for what has typically been an administratively heavy, manual process. Blockchain technology is a way to track and store information without having to worry about it being compromised. It is a distributed ledger technology – recording transactions and information that cannot be updated without mutual agreement. This record is shared across a network, with each point in the network validating the authenticity of changes.
Significant amounts of information need to be stored and tracked when generating RECs, such as:
The Allinfra Climate Dapp helps parties create and transfer digital versions of RECs – taking all of the rights and attributes of traditional RECs and, through a suite of smart contracts, creating dRECs that track and store all relevant asset, underlying power and certificate information.
Every buyer of a dREC can confirm the energy source of the dREC and that only one person has claimed the “green” benefits of that dREC. It creates a completely transparent and verifiable record for all to see. Once that dREC is retired you can be certain that both it, and the underlying data, cannot be claimed again or by another party, avoiding fraud like double counting.
Additionally, blockchain technology allows for the real-time tracking of energy data without significant manpower or frequent manual periodic checks. Not only is this more efficient and less expensive, but more frequently captured and tagged data also allows an electricity consumer to easily match electricity consumption with dRECs over the same time interval, for true emission free electricity consumption.
The Allinfra Climate Dapp is a user-friendly, decentralised application that provides an efficient, transparent and cost-effective way to create and sell digital environmental financial products, such as dRECs – without intermediaries.
The Allinfra Climate system conforms with RE100 technical requirements – validated by TÜV Rheinland.
Is your organisation looking to purchase dRECs to meet sustainability goals? Or are you an energy company looking for a more efficient way to collect, record and monetise production data? Either way, we can help. Get in touch with our team for a demo of Allinfra Climate.