Climate and Federal Renewable Energy Standard Legislation Could Reduce Impact of Renewable Energy Voluntary Purchases

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The Renewable Energy Marketers Association (REMA) today announced their continued concern that the current draft of energy and climate legislation being debated in Congress would have unintended consequences for renewable energy projects financed through voluntary purchases of renewable energy. REMA and its allies seek the inclusion of language that maintains the ability of voluntary renewable energy purchases by end-use customers to provide additional greenhouse gas emission reductions under a cap-and-trade program.

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REMA's objective is to ensure that any cap-and-trade program or energy legislation passed by the federal government maintains the ability of voluntary users of renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions

The Renewable Energy Marketers Association (REMA) today announced their continued concern that the current draft of energy and climate legislation being debated in Congress would have unintended consequences for renewable energy projects financed through voluntary purchases of renewable energy. REMA and its allies seek the inclusion of language that maintains the ability of voluntary renewable energy purchases by end-use customers to provide additional greenhouse gas emission reductions under a cap-and-trade program. In the renewable energy standard REMA's recommendations would ensure that voluntary renewable energy purchases create renewable energy capacity that exceeds what mandatory markets contribute alone.

One million U.S. households and businesses support renewable energy through voluntary purchase decisions. Without provisions to account for GHG reductions associated with voluntary renewable purchasing by non-regulated sectors and to clarify the ownership of federal renewable energy certificates (RECs) within existing REC contracts these voluntary purchases could result in no carbon-reduction benefit and could be claimed by entities regulated under the legislation, something called "double counting".

REMA has joined with a number of leading environmental groups and major U.S. employers to ensure that the voluntary markets for renewable energy are maintained as part of any future climate change or energy bill that passes the Congress. For months REMA and their industry allies have been promoting a series of fixes to the current legislation that would ensure market compatibility with a national renewable energy mandate and cap-and-trade system.

REMA has joined with a number of leading environmental groups and major U.S. employers to ensure that the voluntary markets for renewable energy are maintained as part of any future climate change or energy bill that passes the Congress. For months REMA and their industry allies have been promoting a series of fixes to the current legislation that would ensure market compatibility with a national renewable energy mandate and cap-and-trade system.

"REMA's objective is to ensure that any cap-and-trade program or energy legislation passed by the federal government maintains the ability of voluntary users of renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions," stated REMA Federal Policy Committee Chair, Rob Harmon of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. "To accomplish this objective, voluntary use of renewable energy must result in either the retirement of allowances or in the lowering of the cap."

Allowance retirement in amounts equal to the emissions avoided due to voluntary renewable energy purchases is supported by numerous leading environmental and renewable energy organizations such as the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Union of Concerned Scientists, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Joining them are corporate leaders such as Applied Materials, and Safeway.

Currently one million organizations, households, government agencies, farms, businesses, and houses of worship voluntarily purchase green power~renewable electricity or renewable energy certificates (RECs) ~ or install on-site renewable electricity generation like solar as part of their voluntary commitment to reducing their electricity related global warming footprint and to help develop nationwide renewable energy capacity that exceeds what mandatory markets contribute alone. According to the U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory retail sales of renewable energy in voluntary purchase markets totaled 24 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2008, or 0.6% of total U.S. electricity sales. Green power sales (in kWh) increased by 34% in 2008, with annual growth rates averaging 32% since 2004. Estimates from NREL and the Union of Concerned Scientists also show that voluntary renewable energy demand is slightly greater than the current combined state RES requirements for new renewable generation.

"With small changes in the legislation we can have two thriving markets that are complimentary," stated Gabe Petlin of 3Degrees and the President of REMA. "Two markets are clearly better than one and the solutions being offered by REMA and our allies provide a win-win solution already proven to work in states across the country. "The importance of allowing individuals, private companies, local government and nonprofits the ability to take pro-active measures to stem the threat and consequences of global climate change is a great partner to compliance markets. We are at a historic moment, and all reasonable, cost-effective options to reduce GHG emissions should be encouraged."

About the Renewable Energy Marketers Association (REMA)
The Renewable Energy Marketers Association (REMA) represents the collective interests of both for-profit and nonprofit organizations that sell or promote renewable energy products through voluntary markets, including renewable electricity and renewable energy certificates (RECs), to individuals, companies and institutions throughout North America. For more information on REMA, visit http://www.renewablemarketers.org.

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Gabe Petlin
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