For businesses and organizations looking to reduce their carbon footprint, purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) is widely regarded as usually being the next best thing to actually installing renewable energy systems on-site. This year, Intel is upping its commitment to green energy in a big way, with an announcement that it will be purchasing 2.5 billion kilowatt hours worth of RECs in 2011, a 75% increase over 2010.
RECs are purchased from producers of green energy, which use them to further fund development of clean projects, creating a virtuous cycle. This year, Intel’s renewable energy credit purchases will exceed 85 percent of its estimated U.S. electricity use, leading the company to be recognized once again as the largest voluntary purchaser of green power by the Environmental Protection Agency. (Intel first gained this honor with its very first first purchase, back in 2008, of 1.3 billion kilowatt hours worth of RECs).
Not all of Intel’s green power is being developed by second parties, however, as the company has also completed nine solar electric installations at Intel locations in four U.S. states–Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Oregon–and Israel, generating a total of around 3.8 million kilowatt hours every year via clean, green solar.
Both forms of support for renewable energy make sense for Intel not only in terms of environmental stewardship, but in terms of business, as Intel has a broad commercial objective to spur market demand for renewable energy, smart grid, home energy management and energy efficiency in a wide variety of applications.