Renewable energy is energy that comes from an unlimited power source, such as wind, tidal and solar sources. Using renewable energy sources reduces use of coal-fired power which contributes to the production of greenhouse gases.

Research done for the Environment Effects Statement showed that renewable energy sources were not reliable enough to provide direct, continuous power for the desalination plant. Instead, the government and AquaSure fully offsets the power used by the desalination plant and pipeline by buying RECs.

The funds from the purchase of these certificates supported AGL's development of the 63 megawatt Oaklands Hill wind farm and 420 megawatt Macarthur wind farm, as well contributed to other investments in its portfolio of renewable energy projects. These include other wind farms, solar and landfill gas-to-power projects.

This provides more than enough renewable energy to offset the approximately 90 megawatts used by the Victorian Desalination Project.

The renewable energy requirements for the Victorian Desalination Project have set the highest benchmarks and have directly stimulated new renewable energy projects.

RECs provide a way for power users such as the Victorian Desalination Project to encourage development of renewable energy in Australia.

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Renewable Energy Certificates

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), also known as Renewable Energy Credits, are tradeable, non-tangible energy commodities that represent 1 megawatt-hour of electricity generated from a renewable energy source (as defined under legislation).