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  • Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) - What Are They?
  • Investing and Trading Renewable Identification Numbers

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You can also check out our Glossary of Terms and Frequently Asked Questions.

Renewable Identification Number FAQ

What is a Renewable Identification Number?

A Renewable Identification Number – otherwise known as a RIN – is a serial number assigned to a batch of biofuel for the purpose of tracking its production, use, and trading. A RIN is generated, assigned and is completely unique to one – and only one – specific processed batch of biofuel, and applies to each and every gallon taken that specific batch.

What is the United States Environmental Protection Agency?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency – otherwise known as the EPA – is an agency of the Federal government of the United States which was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress.

What is a Renewable Fuel Standard?

The Renewable Fuel Standard was introduced to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a result of two policies signed into law by President George W. Bush- the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The Renewable Fuel Standard governs Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).

What is a Renewable Energy Certificate?

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) represent tradable energy commodities in the United States that offer verifiable proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from a specific renewable energy resource (biofuel, solar electricity, etc) and was fed into a power line system for the express purpose of that transportation of energy. RECs allow their owners to be able to prove that they have purchased renewable energy for the purpose of renewable energy production subsidies.

How much are Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) worth?

Prices depend on many factors, such as the year the RECs were generated, location of the facility, whether there is a tight supply/demand situation, and the type of power created. This differentiation is intended to promote diversity in the renewable energy mix.

When can Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) be sold or traded?

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) can be sold and traded or bartered once the renewable energy they represent is fed into an electrical grid.

When are Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) considered to be retired and no longer valid?

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are considered retired and may no longer be sold, donated, or transferred to any other party once they renewable energy they represent is utilized.

What is the Energy Policy Act of 2005?

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 passed by the United States Congress on July 29, 2005, and signed into law by President George W. Bush on August 8, 2005. The act provides tax incentives and loan guarantees for energy production of numerous types.

What is the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007?

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 was passed by Congress on December 18, 2007 and signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 19, 2007. The act’s stated purpose is “to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers, to increase the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the Federal Government, and for other purposes.”

What is biofuel?

A biofuel is a fuel that is produced through modern biological techniques, such as agriculture and anaerobic digestion, rather than a fuel produced by geological techniques such as those involved in the formation of fossil fuels, such as coal and petroleum, from prehistoric biological matter. Biofuels can be derived directly from plants, or indirectly from agricultural, commercial, domestic, and/or industrial wastes.

What is Solar electric?

Solar electric – also known as photovoltaics – is a term which covers the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect, a phenomenon studied in physics, photochemistry, and electrochemistry.

What is Wind power?

Wind power is the use of air flow through wind turbines to mechanically power generators for electric power. Wind power, as an alternative to burning fossil fuels, is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation, consumes no water, and uses little land.

What is Geothermal power?

Geothermal power is power generated by geothermal energy. Technologies in use include dry steam power stations, flash steam power stations and binary cycle power stations. Geothermal electricity generation is currently used in 24 countries, while geothermal heating is in use in 70 countries.

What is Hydropower?

Hydropower or water power is power derived from the energy of falling water or fast running water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes.

What is Biomass?

Biomass is an industry term for getting energy by burning wood, and other organic matter. Burning biomass releases carbon emissions, around a quarter higher than burning coal, but has been classed as a "renewable" energy source in the EU and UN legal frameworks, because plants can be regrown.

What is Landfill to Gas?

Landfill to Gas, also known as biogas, typically refers to a mixture of different gases produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Its liquid counterparts include biodiesel and biogasoline.

What are Fuel cells?

A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction of positively charged hydrogen ions with oxygen or another oxidizing agent.

What are combined heat and power systems?

Combined heat and power systems, also known as cogeneration or combined heat and power (CHP) is the use of a heat engine or power station to generate electricity and useful heat at the same time.