SRP plan to buy credits criticized

Salt River Project proposes to get 20 percent of its energy from “sustainable” sources by 2020, but it could pay out-of-state power plants for electricity never sent to Arizona to meet part of that goal. That part of the plan does not sit well with alternative-energy advocates hoping to build up the Arizona economy with green technology.

The plan would allow SRP to buy “renewable-energy credits” – not necessarily the actual renewable energy – to meet its goals. Renewable-energy credits, or RECs, are essentially paper markers to represent the environmental benefits of power from wind farms, solar panels and other alternative sources.

Each megawatt of energy that a wind or solar farm generates is worth one REC, and the RECs can be sold separately from the actual electricity generated at a power plant.

SRP announced April 1 it would increase its commitment to renewable energy and conservation, aiming for 20 percent of its supply to come from those sources by 2020.

The plan would let SRP meet one-fourth of that goal with RECs from out-of-state power plants.

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