Climate Work Explained - What is an RNG Environmental Attribute?

Published on May 16, 2023

Anew is North America’s leading independent marketer of renewable natural gas (RNG), connecting RNG producers with buyers seeking cleaner energy. RNG is a renewable fuel resulting from the capture and purification of methane from landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and livestock farms and serves as a low-carbon one to one replacement for geologic natural gas, suitable for heating and cooling, electricity generation, and transportation. Once RNG has been produced, it is typically injected into existing natural gas infrastructure, such as gas pipelines.

From waste into energy

Many people new to low carbon fuels seek to understand how low carbon or negative carbon intensity RNG can be tracked and delivered as a renewable product once the gas molecules are in the grid and combine with gas from geologic sources. The answer is an instrument known as an environmental attribute. The conveyance, sale and retirement of environmental attributes allows for the environmental benefits associated with the renewable fuel purchase to be more easily tracked and transferred, while retaining the integrity of the carbon emission reduction claims.


For buyers in the voluntary market, RNG is usually marketed and purchased as Renewable Thermal Certificates (RTC), each representing the environmental attributes of one dekatherm of RNG that has been injected into the grid. This delivery via displacement system is similar to how renewable electricity is tracked and delivered through the use of Renewable Energy Certificates, or RECs.


Third-party registries like M-RETS play a key role in issuing, tracking, and delivering environmental attributes such as RTCs from renewable natural gas. RTCs are issued and tracked through the M-RETS platform that enables Anew to transfer RTCs or retire RTCs on a customer’s behalf. This established process gives buyers claim to the environmental benefits associated with their RTC purchase while ensuring end to end value chain transparency and preventing double counting. Through purchase and retirement of RTCs, purchasers can decarbonize their own energy use while helping build the market for additional RNG project development.


As one of the RNG industry’s earliest and most active participants, Anew has built a diverse portfolio of high-quality suppliers across North America, including multiple ultra-low carbon intensity producing partners. To learn more, contact our RNG team today.

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