Green business, green careers and job training
Solutions that build smart communities with green careers and businesses!

Save on Career Education through Lorman Education

Our readers are offered a discount on Lorman seminars and courses. Check out their business, management and legal offers at this link to qualify for our discounts. They also offer green business training opportunities. Please visit for a complete listing of courses. Register online or call Lorman at 866-352-9539.

White Tags, Green Tags, etc. for Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Programs

Green Tags and White Tags can impact the economics of renewable energy generation and energy conservation projects by monetizing reduced carbon emissions.

Find green business solutions

White Tags for Energy Efficiency Achievements

Green Tags and White Tags can be used to favorably impact the economics of renewable energy generation and energy conservation projects by monetizing reduced carbon emissions. The Green Tag market is expected to grow from about $250 million to nearly $1 billion dollars per year by 2010.

According to the Western Area Power Administration (DOE), the new White Tag market is emerging as a potentially far larger market. Presently, these markets are characterized by fragmented brokerage-driven transactions. The growth and increasing liquidity of these markets is creating valuable opportunities for trade-driven transactions that capitalize more efficiently on changing market conditions.

White tags are to energy efficiency as a renewable energy credit (REC) is to renewable energy—a means to quantify an amount of energy saved from investment in either equipment or process changed. Two states have already included White Tags into their Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) programs due to the real environmental benefit that energy efficiency brings to the energy mix.

Payback for Development and Expansion of Energy Efficiency Programs

Quantifying and packaging the savings involved in an energy efficiency program, facilitates the monetization process needed to help pay for the development and expansion of energy efficiency programs. This has proven to be very successful and necessary component in the development of renewable energy programs, so many feel that this type of product will similarly help the development of the energy efficiency market.

The most universal Measurement and Validation (M&V) method of calculating energy savings is by modeling. These calculations require the establishment of a baseline energy use

Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) or Green Tag

RECs or Green Tags (1 MWh = 1 Tag)

REC Purchases Mandated by State Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) Retail Electricity Suppliers Must Meet a Percentage of Sales in RECs Suppliers Assessed Compliance Prices for Failing to Meet Percentages

RECs represent the contractual right to claim the environmental and other attributesassociated with electricity generated from renewable energy. Companies apply these to their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

Some of the highest state REC requirements include:

  • California: 33% by 2020
  • Nevada: 15% by 2013
  • Montana: 15% by 2016
  • Minnesota: 19% by 2015
  • New York: 24% by 2013
  • Maine: 30% by 2000
  • Rhode Island: 16% by 2019

This translates into a market size that is growing. The Compliance Market for RECs by 2010 are estimated to be 45 (Million MWhs) worth $600 million; and the Voluntary Market is 20 (million MWHs)...wo rth $100-$300 million). Source: NREL Energy Analysis Office.

Two leading non-profit organizations provide independent certification and verification of RECs: Enviromental Resoruces Trust and Green-e.

Energy Efficiency Certificates (EEC) or White Tag™

In 2006, Sterling Planet introduced White Tags™ energy efficiency certificates, each representing one megawatt hour of energy savings.

White Tags represent the value of energy "NOT USED/Conserved" at facilities. White Tag credits are created through implementation of conservation projects on the demand-side and CHP. They are principally electricity, but can be any energy supply.

Today, three states have portfolio standards for conservation:

  • Nevada: 5% by 2015
  • Connecticut: 4% by 2010
  • Pennsylvania: 10% by 2021
... as well as some countries: UK, Belgium, Italy and France on the international scene.

White Tag Certificates have both compliance and voluntary markets, and are similar in many ways, but the voluntary market is estimated to be larger than RECs. Certification is similar, but more complex because it represents savings -- not generation.

White Tag Certificates are FACILITY based, not equipment based, and they require Measurement and Vertification (M&V) that requires historical challenges.

The owner of the facility, not the equipment, has title to the tags, so leased facilities are problematic. If a utility funds the project with rebates, the utility owns the tags.

The tags have a one year expiration, and certification requires the approval of a M&V plan.

The key issue for White Tags is their certification through an accurate and acceptable Measurement & Verification (M&V) process. Unlike Green Tags, which can be measured directly from metering of the renewable energy production, white tags must be determined through calculations of energy reduction from conservation projects.

Certifiers include:

  • California Climate Action Registry
  • Climate Savers
  • Chicago Climate Exchange
  • World Resources Institute
  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development
  • World Economic Forum

White Tags Regulation

  • The Owner of a facility, not equipment, has title to the tags
  • If utility funds project (e.g rebates), utility owns tags
  • Demand-side projects must involve physical activity
  • CHP projects must achieve 50% efficiency & 20% thermal output
  • Projects completed after January 1, 2006 qualify for tags
  • Mandated markets begin trading January 1, 2007
  • Compliance prices in mandated markets range from 31 to 45 $/MWh
  • Tags have a “vintage” and expire the year after created (+ 3 months)
  • Certification requires the approval of a M&V plan
Compliance markets began trading January 1, 2007.

Carbon Credits

The Carbon Credits market is evolving, complex, state-based with many stakeholders & protocols. This program includes Renewable energy (excluding geothermal, landfill gas and direct biomass).

Tags are viewed as Indirect; Carbon Credits are viewed as Direct Reductions

Indirect reductions to Environmental impact (CO2, SF6, CH4, N20, HFCs, PFCs) come from:

  • Production of purchased materials
  • Employee business travel
  • Waste disposal
  • Contractor owned vehicles
  • Outsourced activities
  • Product use
Pre-certification of some vendor technologies including:
  • Roofing Shingles
  • Transformers
  • Fuel Cells
Certification is available from:

Combined Heat and Power (CHP)

Combined Heat and Power or cogeneration that meet all permitting requirements for operation are eligible for White Tags™. There are several unique issues with CHP.
  • Efficiency- must have an operating efficiency of no less than 50%.
  • Thermal output - must be at least 20% of the total energy output.
  • Retrofits - incremental increase in output after Jan. 1, 2006, are eligible.
  • Measurement - electric output must be metered (realistically).
  • Certification - must meet efficiency requirements every quarter.
White Tags are created by implementation of energy conservation projects at a facility, including:
  • Equipment upgrades, retrofits, & replacement
  • Operational modifications & set point changes
  • Energy management and monitoring systems
  • Combined Heat and Power (CHP) or cogeneration
  • New technologies (e.g. High Efficiency Lighting).
Certified White Tags™ may be sold through quarterly auctions to the state’s energy suppliers, direct contracts with the energy suppliers, or contracts with any interested buyer.

White Tag Creation Oversight

The Department of Power and Utility Commission (DPUC) oversees the creation of White Tags™ through the Conservation & Load Management Administration (funds utility projects).

Economics of Renewable Energy

23 states have mandatory carbon commitments (green) and 10 states are considering them (2008). The voluntary market includes businesses, universities and cities who have signed Volunary commitments. The Western Governor's Climate Initiative (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada, California, New Mexico, Arizona, ) has made 2011 the first compliance year. Other regional Pacts include the Midwestern Climate Pack and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

Top Renewable Energy Purchasers include: Itel, PepsiCo, USAF, Wells Fargo, Whole Foods, Pepsi, Johnson & Johnson, Cisco Systems, Dallas, HSBC NA, US EPA, City of Houston, Kohl's Department Store, LA County Sanitation District, Starbucks, DuPont, US DOE, Pennsylvania, Pepsi, Vail Resourts, New York University, NatureWorks, Staples, The World Bank Group, and Univ of Pennsylvania.

Sterling Planet Carbon Offering directly mitigates environmental impact from personal or business-related carbon footprint with:

  • Reforestation
  • Sustainable Land Management
  • Methane Destruction
  • Agricultural Methane Capture
  • Rural Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency
  • Carbon Capture/Sequestration
  • Transportation Technologies

Sterling Planet Registry is a Registry for Compiling Environmental Credits Data by Account for:

  • Renewable Energy Certificates
  • Sterling Planet White Tag TM
  • GHG Offset Projects
  • Other Tradable Emissions

Sterling Planet

Sterling Planet, founded in 2000 was the first nationwide renewable energy marketer with almost 40 utility partnerships - most in the renewable industry and they serve over 400 commercial and institutional customers. They are leading the emerging White Tag™ market and are buyer and seller of environmental attributes -- RECs, White Tags(TM) and Carbon Credits.

Stragetic Partnerships are with: US EPA Gree Power Partnership; USEPA Climate Leaders; WRI Green Power Market Development Group; APX Environmental Products Registry; Center for Resource Solutions (Green-e); and Environmental Resources Trust (ERT - White Tags)

REFERENCE: PDF presentation by Mel Jones, Sterling Planet, and available as a download at

Sterling Planet
Mel Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Paul R. MacGregor, Vice President
Alden Hathaway, Sr. Vice President, Business Development
(678) 343-9276
3295 River Exchange Drive Suite 300
Norcross, GA 30092-423825

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| energy efficiency | certification | offsets | climate exchange | climate action registry | chicago climate exchange |


Related Articles

Johnson Controls’ fifth annual Energy Efficiency Indicator survey

Cool Roof Saves Energy Costs at No Incremental Cost

How to save energy in large office buildings and large hospitals

Career Resources

We encourage lifelong learning to support sustainable communities and provide these select resources to help you pursue green and sustainable self-development:

Lorman Business Training Directory of On-line Business and Compliance Classes

Job & Career Resources

Sales & Marketing
Human Resources
About Us ~ Privacy Policy

California Green Solutions is a publication of Carolyn Allen ~ Copyright ©2006-2030 Carolyn Allen

B2B | Green Directory | Remodeling |
CONSUMERS | Backyard Nature | Senior Health | MultiMedia Marketing | Marketing |