Kelly Crandall


Renewable energy credits ("RECs")--commodities representing a megawatt-hour of renewable electricity but tradable separately from the electricity itself-developed to encourage renewable energy investment and to allow individuals and corporations without direct access to renewable energy to subsidize its construction. RECs can be sold voluntarily or applied to state-imposed renewable energy purchase obligations. These state mandates, known as renewable portfolio standards, have contributed dramatically to the demand for RECs. Yet, despite their popularity, RECs are regulated inconsistently: neither federal nor state consumer protection law fully mitigates the opportunities they create for deceptive advertising. This Comment critiques the existing regulatory scheme (or lack thereof) for renewable energy credits, demonstrating the gaps that opportunistic advertisers can use to greenwash and offering policy rationales for closing them by imposing a cohesive, national regime. In light of recent movements from the Federal Trade Commission toward regulation of deceptive advertising in the renewable energy industry, this Comment proposes several features that a national regulatory system must include to restore consumer confidence and promote accountability in state renewable portfolio standards.