Purchasing Clean Electricity
The energy industry is changing steadily. Consumers concerned about the environment and their own bottom line are looking for newer, more efficient, more economical energy sources. Nowhere is this more apparent than with electricity.
Today, almost 50 percent of electric customers have the ability to buy renewable energy straight from their power distributor, and every consumer has the option to purchase green energy certificates.
Most states offer at least one of several different programs that let consumers buy green energy.
Green pricing programs require customers to pay a small fee in exchange for electricity produced by green energy sources. This optional service is offered through many traditional power companies; the premium fee helps offset costs for the supplier that come from increased expenses related to renewable energy generation.
Competitive electricity markets give customers a lot of choice when it comes to energy efficiency and low environmental impact. Through competitive markets, customers can select to have their power delivered by an independent green energy supplier rather than buy it from the traditional provider active in their area.
The competitive market model works a lot like the restructured long distance telephone call system of years ago. Instead of allowing a single default supplier to provide power to all consumers in a specific geographic area, some states have allowed alternative energy producers in to market green energy products and services to customers. This has increased competition among service providers in these markets, giving consumers renewable energy options and in some cases even lowering prices for traditional electric customers.
Green certificates can be purchased by anyone, regardless of their access to green pricing or competitive markets. Sometimes called green tags, renewable energy certificates, or tradable renewable certificates, green certificates are essentially the environmental benefits that come from producing clean energy. In buying green certificates, consumers are able to help alternative providers produce clean, renewable energy no matter where they are. These contributions make it possible for companies producing green power to generate more of it, thereby feeding more renewable energy into the country’s electricity supply.
The process starts with clean power companies that separate the power they sell to suppliers from the environmental attributes associated with that energy. These attributes are the green certificates. The certificates are then sold to both businesses and individual consumers who want to help increase the amount of green energy entering the power grid.
The separation makes it possible for alternative energy suppliers to sell their products to traditional suppliers at competitive prices. Selling the green certificates helps cover the additional costs associated with producing renewable energy, as well as stimulating the research and development of more green energy initiatives.
There are many organizations that offer renewable energy certificates. No matter where you live, you have the opportunity to contribute to these alternative providers and, in turn, increase the amount of green energy that circulates through our nation’s electric systems.
For more information about buying green electricity or participating in renewable energy initiatives in your area, contact your local electric company or your state’s Department of Environmental Protection.