REC and ZEC Purchasers

The Clean Energy StandardLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. [PDF] requires two approaches for utilities, electric companies, and other load serving entities (LSEs) to help New York meet clean energy and climate goals: meeting a Renewable Energy Standard through the purchase of Tier 1 RECs and a requirement to purchase zero-emissions credits (ZEC). The processes, timelines, and obligations for purchasing Tier 1 RECs and ZECs differ. Compliance processes have also changed between 2017 and the 2018 compliance years.

Renewable Energy Standard

The RES obligates every load serving entity (LSE) in the State to serve their retail customers by procuring new renewable resources, evidenced by qualifying Tier 1 Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) or by making alternative compliance payments (ACPs). LSEs have four options to ensure compliance, they include:

  • Purchasing Tier 1 RECs from NYSERDA
  • Purchasing Tier 1 RECs from a third party
  • Self-supplying Tier 1 RECs
  • Making ACPs

What’s a Tier 1 REC?

Tier 1 RECs are derived from the energy production of megawatt-hour (MWh) by RES-eligible electric generation sources which first entered commercial operation on or after January 1, 2015. One Tier 1 REC represents the energy production of one MWh. The initial Clean Energy Standard order, accessible on the CES homepage, identified RES-eligible resources and other requirements.

Tier 1 REC Obligations

The CES determined the percentage of load that needs to be satisfied by Tier 1 RECs annually. Later, the October 15, 2020 Order Adopting Modification to the CES [PDF] revised the percentages.

Tier 1 REC Annual Obligations


Current LSE Tier 1 Obligation

LSE Obligation























The New York Generation Attribute Tracking System (NYGATS) will record and track information on electricity generated, imported, and consumed within New York State. Additionally, NYGATS will demonstrate LSE compliance with, and progress toward, the CES 70% by 2030 goal. LSEs need to register in NYGATS to create an account and manage their CES obligation. Visit NYSERDA’s NYGATS information page to learn more about using NYGATS.

Additionally, Tier 1 RECs may be available in subsequent years if some remained unpurchased.

Zero-emission Credits

New York State’s load-serving entities must purchase zero-emission credits (ZECs) from NYSERDA every year. This annual obligation is based on an LSE’s proportional amount of statewide load in each compliance year.


Email with questions regarding REC or ZEC purchases.