Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) introduced the Renewable Energy Certificate Study Act, which would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study of the use of renewable energy certificates by federal agencies. Many federal agencies have used Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), which certify that one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from a renewable source and fed into the grid, allowing the REC owner to claim the environmental benefits of that clean energy. 

“Renewable Energy Certificates were developed to stimulate the growth of the green energy market. Currently, RECs enable federal agencies and other entities to meet statutory and administrative energy procurement requirements in a flexible, easier-to-use way compared to procuring renewable energy directly, all while reducing emissions,” said Congresswoman Brownley. 

“As the single largest user of energy in the United States, the federal government has a responsibility to use RECs as intended. My bill calls for federal agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of RECs and determine the extent of federal REC usage, which will provide critical information to Congress to improve federal energy policy. 

“American taxpayers know all too well the significant costs of energy, and my bill will ensure the wise and effective use of taxpayer funds, while also improving RECs market-wide and creating a strong and sustainable future.”  

As a result of requirements in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Biden Administration’s Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability, federal agencies are working to raise the percentage of energy they use from climate-friendly sources. To accomplish these goals, agencies across the federal government have used renewable energy certificates. However, research and reporting have found that RECs may not be meaningfully reducing emissions as intended. The Renewable Energy Certificate Study Act directs the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on the federal government’s use of renewable energy certificates.  

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