REC and ZEC Purchasers

The Clean Energy StandardLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. [PDF] (CES) is divided into two approaches: a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) and a zero-emissions credit (ZEC) requirement.

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 Phase 2 Implementation Plan revised the percentages .

Tier 1 REC Annual Obligations

Year LSE Obligation
2018 0.15%
2019 0.78%
2020 2.84%
2021 4.20%


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 50% 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.


At the end of the compliance year for each program, NYSERDA will transfer ownership of fully paid REC and ZEC certificates to LSEs through the New York Generation Attribute Tracking System (NYGATS). LSEs will need an active NYGATS account to view and accept these transfers and to demonstrate compliance with the Clean Energy Standard. Because each compliance year process differs slightly, be sure to review the respective compliance year pages thoroughly.


Email with questions regarding REC or ZEC purchases.