Last year marked the 15th anniversary of the Port of Vancouver USA supporting wind energy through the voluntary purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs). Since 2008, the purchase of RECs generated by wind energy has strengthened the port’s commitment to environmental stewardship while encouraging renewable energy development and reducing our carbon footprint.

How do RECs work?

A green energy provider (such as a wind farm) generates one REC for every 1,000 kWh of electricity it produces. When the electricity is fed into the grid, the REC is issued a unique identification number in a tracking system to make sure it isn’t double counted. The certified REC can then be sold and tracked on the open market and retired once purchased.

Since 2011, the port has annually purchased RECs produced by wind farms to match 100% of its annual electricity usage for the buildings in which it controls the utilities.

Here are some fun facts about those purchases:

  • Since we began this program, we’ve purchased more than 97,000 RECs. An estimated 61,084 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) was avoided through these purchases.
  • In April 2023 the port purchased over 12,500 RECs which supported wind energy generation that avoided over 5,000 metric tons, or more than 11 million pounds, of CO2e. That’s equivalent to taking 1,215 cars off the road for one year or growing 90,298 tree seedlings for 10 years.
  • In recognition of its green energy purchases, the port is certified as a member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership.

The port’s REC purchases support a sustainable future by backing wind energy projects in regions which may utilize wind energy components moved through the port. In 2022, the port moved over 1,000 wind energy components across its docks bound for wind projects in Washington, Oregon and even into Canada.

The port is dedicated to the health of the economy, our community and the environment. We continue to seek opportunities for air quality and climate improvements in our operations while supporting the purchase of RECs. For more information on the port’s clean air initiatives or Climate Action Plan visit our website.