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Since deregulation, several states in the U.S. have begun to switch over to a competitive electricity market. Previously, utility companies held a monopoly over all parts of the electricity sales process in an area; however, under deregulation utilities no longer hold exclusive rights to all components. Deregulation gives power to the energy consumer: residents and businesses can participate in electric choice by selecting a retail energy provider as well as an electricity plan that fits their lifestyle best.
With the passing of deregulation in Pennsylvania several years ago, various renewable energy options have emerged including: wind, solar, biomass and geothermal. The most popular of the four sources is wind power.
Wind power is one of four types of renewable energy that the U.S. government has chosen to subsidize. The government provides a 30 percent rebate to taxpayers who equip their homes with wind power systems. The money comes in the form of a tax credit: 30 percent of the cost of installation comes out of the total amount an individual owes.
Before renewable supply options became available in Pennsylvania, Duquesne Light (in addition to other utilities in Pennsylvania) was a common default utility. Two years ago, there were seven non-Duquesne options. Today, the state Public Utility Commission’s site lists 34 alternate suppliers for Duquesne customers. Many of such options offer renewable electricity through wind and solar.
Advocates for renewable energy sources recommend suppliers that offer 100 percent renewable energy from regional outlets. "The more renewable energy is on the grid, the less we have to rely on coal," said Courtney Lane, a senior policy analyst with nonprofit group Penn Future.
"The regional part matters because if those windmills or solar farms are in Pennsylvania," said Lane, "you’re assured that the electricity you’re supporting is actually being pumped into [our] electrical grid rather than simply being generated in some other region on your behalf."
At www.pennfuture.org, Penn Future designates how retail energy suppliers generate their electricity. Approximately 6 suppliers offer all-regional, all-renewable plans in Pennsylvania. Most plans are wind power, which became significantly popular in Pennsylvania last year.
Make sure when selecting an energy plan that you consider the following:
- What are my advantages/disadvantages of conventional versus green electricity plans?
- What kind of plan do I want (monthly, yearly fixed, variable, etc)?
- What are my options for green energy (solar, wind, biomass or geothermal)?
Read more about renewable electricity in Pennsylvania by visiting: http://renewableelectricity.com/locations/pennsylvania/