Green tip for week #29 — Week of November 16, 2008

Buy green power or alternative energy sourced power from your utility company

Many utility companies have begun obtaining power from renewable, sustainable energy resources such as wind, solar, and other alternatives to non-renewable like coal.  Some states even have mandates that utility companies obtain a percentage of their power from renewables.  What this means for you is that you may now have a choice if you would like to purchase “green power” rather than power from non-renewables.

To purchase green power, there are several options depending on the area you live in and the utility companies that serve your area.  You may be able to purchase green power through “green pricing”, which is essentially paying a premium price which supports the utility company in its efforts to obtain more of its power from renewables, which may often come with an above-market cost.  This gives you the satisfaction of knowing you are on the leading edge of supporting renewable energy development.

In some cases, you may be able to obtain renewable energy certificates (RECs) or renewable energy credits (also called green energy certificates or green tags), which help ensure that the money you paid go directly toward the purchase or development of renewable power.  The US Department of Energy has information at its website to identify whether or how you can purchase green energy in your state (click this link for the nationwide map).

What this means is that even if you don’t have a solar or geothermal home, and even if having a wind turbine in your neighborhood or community isn’t an option, you can still purchase green energy or support its development.  Remember that sustainable thinking and environmental responsibility do not have to be difficult or elaborate to make a difference.

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