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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.

Glossary of Terms Associated with Renewable Identification Numbers

Active solar:  As an energy source, energy from the sun collected and stored using mechanical pumps or fans to circulate heat-laden fluids or air between solar collectors and a building.

Biodiesel:  A fuel typically made from soybean, canola, or other vegetable oils; animal fats; and recycled grease. It can serve as a substitute for petroleum-derived diesel or distillate fuel.

Biofuels:  Liquid fuels and blending components produced from biomass feedstocks, used primarily for transportation.

Biomass gas:  A medium Btu gas containing methane and carbon dioxide.

Biomass waste:  Organic non-fossil material of biological origin that is a byproduct or a discarded product.

Biomass-based diesel fuel:  Biodiesel and other renewable diesel fuel or diesel fuel blending components derived from biomass.

Combined hydroelectric plant:  A hydroelectric plant that uses both pumped water and natural streamflow for the production of power.

Concentrating solar power system:  A solar energy conversion system characterized by the optical concentration of solar rays through an arrangement of mirrors to generate a high temperature working fluid.

Conventional hydroelectric plant:  A plant in which all of the power is produced from natural streamflow as regulated by available storage.

Dam:  A physical barrier constructed across a river or waterway to control the flow of or raise the level of water. The purpose of construction may be for flood control, irrigation needs, hydroelectric power production, and/or recreation usage.

Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007: A bill passed by the United States Congress on December 18, 2007 and signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 19, 2007. The act was passed 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.

Energy Policy Act of 2005: A bill 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 changed US energy policy by providing tax incentives and loan guarantees for energy production of various types.

Fuel wood:  Wood and wood products, possibly including scrubs and branches, etc, bought or gathered, and used by direct combustion.

Green pricing:  In the case of renewable electricity, green pricing represents a market solution to the various problems associated with regulatory valuation of the nonmarket benefits of renewables. Green pricing programs allow electricity customers to express their willingness to pay for renewable energy development through direct payments on their monthly utility bills.

Hydraulic fracturing:  Fracturing of rock at depth with fluid pressure. Hydraulic fracturing at depth may be accomplished by pumping water into a well at very high pressures. Also known as Fracking.

Landfill gas:  Gas that is generated by decomposition of organic material at landfill disposal sites. The average composition of landfill gas is approximately 50 percent methane and 50 percent carbon dioxide and water vapor by volume.

Municipal solid waste:  Residential solid waste and some nonhazardous commercial, institutional, and industrial wastes.

Ocean energy systems:  Energy conversion technologies that harness the energy in tides, waves, and thermal gradients in the oceans.

Passive solar heating:  A solar heating system that uses no external mechanical power, such as pumps or blowers, to move the collected solar heat.

PVCs that convert sunlight directly into energy:  A method for producing energy by converting sunlight using photovoltaic cells (PVCs) that are solid-state single converter devices.

Reforestation:  Replanting of forests on lands that have recently been harvested or otherwise cleared of trees.

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs): are tradable energy commodities in the United States that represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource (renewable electricity) and was fed into the shared system of power lines which transport energy.

Renewable energy resources:  Energy resources that are naturally replenishing. Renewable energy resources include biomass, hydro, geothermal, solar, wind, ocean thermal, wave action, and tidal action.

Renewable fuels (other):  Fuels and fuel blending components, except biomass-based diesel fuel, renewable diesel fuel, and fuel ethanol, produced from renewable biomass.

Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): A program instituted by the United States Environmental Protection agency for the generation of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).

Renewable Identification Number (RIN): A serial number assigned to a batch of biofuel for the purpose of tracking its production, use, and trading as required by the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) implemented according to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Run off:  That portion of the precipitation that flows over the land surface and ultimately reaches streams to complete the water cycle.

Solar thermal collector:  A device designed to receive solar radiation and convert it to thermal energy.

Solar thermal panels:  A system that actively concentrates thermal energy from the sun by means of solar collector panels.

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):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. President Richard Nixon proposed the establishment of EPA and it began operation on December 2, 1970, after Nixon signed an executive order.

Variable-speed wind turbines:  Turbines in which the rotor speed increases and decreases with changing wind speed, producing electricity with a variable frequency.

Water turbine:  A turbine that uses water pressure to rotate its blades.

Wind energy conversion system (WECS) or device:  An apparatus for converting the energy available in the wind to mechanical energy that can be used to power machinery (grain mills, water pumps) and to operate an electrical generator.

Wind power plant:  A group of wind turbines interconnected to a common utility system through a system of transformers, distribution lines, and (usually) one substation.

Wind turbine: Wind energy conversion device that produces electricity; typically three blades rotating about a horizontal axis and positioned up-wind of the supporting tower.

Wood energy:  Wood and wood products used as fuel, including round wood (cord wood), limb wood, wood chips, bark, saw dust, forest residues, charcoal, pulp waste, and spent pulping liquor.

Zero Energy Building (ZEB):  An energy-efficient building where, on a source energy basis, the actual annual delivered energy is less than or equal to the on-site renewable exported energy.