Many local governments use renewable energy certificates (RECs) to demonstrate regulatory compliance and meet voluntary local renewable energy goals. RECs are market-based instruments that represent the property rights to the environmental, social, and other non-power attributes of renewable electricity generation. Many
local governments purchase RECs through a range of credible supply options to demonstrate consumption of renewable electricity. Local governments have also benefited from self-generating and selling RECs to electricity suppliers and other buyers. This brief provides a basic explanation of what RECs are and how local governments can use them to achieve their environmental goals, providing three examples where local governments have successfully used RECs to meet their environmental goals.