Frequently asked questions

Why should my company purchase renewable energy certificates?

Decarbonization standards and certain certifications for companies, products and buildings require proof of ownership of environmental attributes or proof that the electricity used is from renewable sources. The transfer of environmental attributes is done through renewable energy certificates. 

Why doesn’t Hydro‑Québec automatically provide RECs with electricity use?

A REC is a market-based instrument and is not an intrinsic part of the electricity that is distributed. It has a commercial value that varies according to supply and demand on a given market.

To prove that my company uses 100% renewable energy, is it sufficient to purchase RECs reflecting the breakdown of the renewable and non-renewable sources used to produce the electricity distributed by Hydro‑Québec?

No. None of the environmental attributes are transferred to customers when electricity is distributed. Standards generally require that consumers cover 100% of their energy use through the purchase of RECs. 

Do RECs offset the GHG emissions associated with electricity use (scope 2)?

Yes, in a way. RECs prove that the electricity used is from 100% renewable sources, which do not emit any GHGs associated with power generation.

By purchasing RECs, a company avoids having to offset its emissions through the purchase of carbon credits. However, it’s important to be familiar with GHG accounting standards (e.g., GHG Protocol). 

Can my company commit to a period longer than a year?

No. Hydro-Quebec’s current offer as part of the pilot project only allows companies to purchase RECs for a period of one year. 

What proves that my company is the sole owner of the RECs it purchases from Hydro‑Québec?

For companies not enrolled in the DR Option, Hydro‑Québec sends a personalized letter confirming the transfer of ownership of the RECs as proof of purchase upon receiving payment, and for companies that are enrolled in the DR Option, at the end of the usage period. Hydro‑Québec then removes the RECs from the North American Renewables (NAR) tracking platform, making your organization the final consumer.

What’s the difference between a carbon credit and a REC?

RECs are only used to avoid having to offset the GHG emissions associated with a company’s scope 2 electricity use, while carbon credits are used to offset all other sources of emissions. More specifically, one REC is equal to 1 MWh consumed while one carbon credit is equivalent to removing one ton of GHGs.

Is it possible to purchase RECs to cover the electricity consumed by all my company’s buildings in Canada?

No. The pilot project is intended for companies with one or more commercial, institutional or industrial buildings located in Québec whose consumption is subject to a business rate. The buildings must be supplied by the Hydro‑Québec grid.