Progress towards what could eventually be the largest Renewable Energy Credit (REC) trading platform in the US moved a big step forward with the selection of a technology provider to facilitate and coordinate the market. APX Environmental Registry & Banking will track and register certificates for the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WRE-GIS), an independent regional initiative to support renewable energy credit trading across the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) region. WECC comprises the entire Western Interconnection. With a footprint of 1.8 million square miles and members operating in 14 states in the Western US, two Canadian provinces, and the Northern portion of Baja, Mexico, WECC is the largest geographically of the eight North American Electric Reliability Council regions. "The APX system is now the de facto infrastructure for REC markets," says APX's Reiner Musier. The technology is being used by every major renewable energy market in North America, including the PJM (GATS) in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland, ISO New England (NEPOOL GIS), and ERCOT (Texas REC) markets. "The door is open for the whole West Coast to take advantage of this. A few years ago people said these markets cannot track all this data. Now it's entirely become a policy question. It's put the ball in that court." Musier says the system is designed to support different state policies and goals and that increased and coordinated support for renewables under the WREGIS area will help propel a true market along. California is the obvious front-runner to take advantage of this but other states like Washington, with its new renewable energy standard law, could play an important role as a cross border market grows. Even as state to state trading will take some time to ramp up, California intends to use the WREGIS system for its own state-wide REC trading market, which is a new component to its Renewables Portfolio Standard law. For this reason, California has played the key role in the formation of WREGIS. Overall project implementation is underway and expected operational around mid-year.
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