How To: Get Green Power  

Posted by Big Gav

TreeHugger has an article on how US consumers can buy green power from their electricity supplier.

You’re likely aware of the benefits of using renewable energy, but just how exactly do you get it piped into your house? Here’s some info that can help you get powered up...

The term "green power" pretty much refers to electricity supplied, at least in part, from renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, geothermal, hydropower, and various forms of biomass. More and more, we are being given options about which type of power we choose, as markets open to competition and as utility companies begin to develop their own sources for cleaner, renewable energy. According to the Green Power Network, a DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy effort, almost half of all retail customers in the United States now have an option for purchasing a green power product directly from their electricity supplier. But even if you’re not included in that stat, there are still ways that you can support the development of renewable resources.

Australia has a similar program called GreenPower that allows customers to buy renewable energy from their supplier at a premium to the usual price they pay.
Most Australians don’t realise that over 90% of their electricity is generated by burning coal. This creates greenhouse gas pollution that contributes to global warming and climate change.

You can ask your electricity supplier instead to source the energy you use from renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydro-power. Choosing a clean energy alternative makes it easy for everyone to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions at home and work.

Green Power is a national accreditation program that sets stringent environmental and reporting standards for renewable energy products offered by electricity suppliers to households and businesses across Australia.

If you choose a government accredited Green Power product, your energy supplier agrees that the equivalent amount of energy you nominate is produced from renewable sources, avoiding the use of coal-derived power.

Energy suppliers’ Green Power products are independently audited so you can be sure your money is being well spent.

The Green Power tick is your guarantee that your contributions are helping facilitate the installation of new sustainable energy projects in Australia.

As an example of this, Energy Australia has 2 green power options.

The first is a full, accredited GreenPower product that they call "Pure Energy" - the charges for this are around an extra 6 cents per kilowatt, which for my apartment would be an extra $480 a year (based on a consmuption of around 8000 Kwh) - an increase of almost 50%.

They also offer another, more debatable, renewable energy option called GreenFuture that costs an extra $1 per week, regardless of consumption.

Unfortunately, is seems likely that few consumers would want to add an extra 50% to their power bill by choosing fully renewable energy - so this isn't going to make any meaningful difference to the uptake of green energy. In the absence of cost competitive renewable energy (which could be made possible by applying carbon taxes to non-renewable energy production) only government mandated production targets can drive the adoption of renewable energy.


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