Carbon Offsets & Renewable Energy Certificates


Both offsets and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are important tools that help organizations reach their carbon neutral goal and mitigate emissions. They both reach the same goal of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. However, they are both fundamentally different and one is not more important or better than the other.

Organizations working to lower their emissions footprint have various options to reduce their direct and indirect emissions, like energy efficiency measures, switching to green power, and paying for external reductions.  

What is a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC)? 

  • A Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) is a tradeable instrument, representing the legal right to renewable electricity, whether it is generated at the organization’s facility or purchased from elsewhere.
  • A REC is created for every megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity generated and delivered to the grid from a renewable energy resource. As the physical electricity we receive through the utility grid says nothing of its origin or how it was generated, RECs play an essential role in assigning ownership to the attributes of renewable electricity generation and use.

Electricity cannot be considered renewable without a REC to substantiate its renewable-ness.

Why Organizations Purchase RECs?    

  • Green Electricity – As the physical electricity we receive through the utility grid says nothing of how it was generated, the purchase of verified RECs, substantiate an organizations electricity as green electricity, lowering or eliminating scope 2 emissions associated with purchased electricity.
  • Cost Effective – RECs can be purchased to match the actual electricity consumption. This can be an attractive option when other green energy options are too expensive or not suited for the organizations size or needs.
  • Flexible – With the purchase of RECs, electricity can be claimed renewable, without an organization having to make any changes to the existing electricity setup.
  • Efficient – RECs are also not limited by geographic boundaries. For organizations with facilities in multiple provinces/states or countries, procuring a single, consolidated REC can be an efficient organization strategy to meet overall clean energy goals.

What is an Offset? 

  • An offset project is a specific activity or set of activities intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or enhance greenhouse gas removals from the atmosphere. The project must result in real, permanent, and verified emission reductions.

Carbon Credits issued for the verified emission reductions must be enforceable.

  • The offset/carbon credit can be used to address direct and indirect emissions associated with an organization’s operations (e.g., emissions from a boiler used to heat an office building).
  • The reduction in emissions from one place can be used to ‘offset’ emissions taking place elsewhere. Organizations purchase offsets to address its scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.

Why Organizations Purchase Offsets?   

  • GHG Reductions – Offsets can be used in addition to organizations taking other actions, operationally to lower emissions. Offsets are often used for meeting voluntary commitments to lower emissions footprint where it is not feasible to lower an organization’s direct or indirect emissions.
  • Sustainability Strategy – Purchasing and retiring (not re-selling) offsets can be a useful component of an overall voluntary emissions reduction strategy.



All our partner projects are third party verified, ensuring the reductions are real and permanent. As an independent energy brokerage, our clients enjoy access to diverse project portfolios locally, and across the globe. Organizations can pick and choose projects that align with their values and budget. Dream Energy is walking the talk by taking its operations green by the end of 2023.


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