According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, the vast majority of U.S. residents agree that renewable energy, or green energy, is the most desirable energy option when available. However, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, only 18% of the country is getting its electricity from renewable sources.
This is due to several barriers, such as the high up-front costs of personal installation (solar panels, thermal) or a geographic separation from renewable energy plants (hydroelectric, tidal, wind, etc.).
If you live in a state with Energy Choice, you may have the option to switch to a 100% renewable plan and have a positive impact on the environment. No equipment installation, meter change, or outside billing is required. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about switching to renewable. You can also learn more about how Energy Choice works.
How Switching to 100% Renewable Energy Works
When you switch, your renewable electricity provider takes your electricity supply payment and uses it to purchase renewable energy certificates (also known as renewable energy credits, or REC’s) on the behalf of you and all other customers who are enrolled in 100% renewable plans.
Where you physically get your electricity from remains the same. However, now you’re helping offset your energy usage by ensuring more renewable power is entering the grid.
By signing up for a 100% renewable energy plan, you are essentially voting with your choice to support the growth of renewable energy generation in your area.
What are Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)?
Energy enters the grid from a wide variety of sources including solar, wind-power, natural gas, nuclear power and more. As a result, it’s nearly impossible to know precisely where the electricity that reaches your home or business is produced.
As a solution to allow individuals and businesses to support the renewable energy product – electricity providers offer 100% renewable energy plans that leverage something called renewable energy credits.
Renewable energy credits let electricity provider and utilities offset their customer’s energy usage by purchasing the equivalent of 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable energy production.
In other words – for every REC sold, 1 MWh of energy generated from renewable sources enters the energy grid.
What is Renewable Energy and Green Power?
According to the EPA, renewable energy, sometimes called green power is any resource that replenishes itself in a short amount of time and does not diminish. These sources are generally better for the environment than conventional resources. Here are five examples of how green power is produced:
- SOLAR – The most abundant renewable source, solar power is created from sunlight. Solar power can be converted into electricity, lighting for homes and business and heating.
- WIND – Wind energy is created when air flows through a wind turbine, which captures the kinetic energy and converts it into electricity. Typically over 200 feet tall, wind turbines start producing energy at around 6-8 MPH of wind.
- HYDROPOWER – Similar to wind power, hydropower uses spinning turbines to generate energy but uses water instead. As water flows through the turbine, it causes it to spin and generate electricity. Typically, hydropower plants are set up like a dam on a river to capture the river’s natural current.
- BIOMASS – Biomass energy is created by using the energy store in plants through photosynthesis. When burned, the chemical energy released comes out as heat.
- GEOTHERMAL – While the sun produces a lot of heat and power, the earth generates it’s own as well. Geothermal energy is produced by tapping into the earth’s natural heat produced by its core.
Why Should I Go Renewable?
Renewable power is part of a nationwide solution to lower dependence on unsustainable resources such as coal or oil. When you sign up for a 100% renewable plan, you’re supporting the growth of the renewable industry and helping the United States move towards a greener future. Here are a few reasons to consider going renewable.
1. Renewable Power is Good for the Economy
2. Renewable Sources are Less Damaging to the Environment
By their definition, renewable sources are less environmentally damaging than conventional sources. As previously mentioned, green energy is defined as having little to no negative environmental impact.
3. It May Be Impractical to Go Solar
Depending on your location, the cost of installing personal renewable sources (i.e. solar panels, geothermal, etc.) has often made it impractical to switch. It isn’t uncommon for someone to have to wait 15+ years to break even from investing in such equipment. However by switching to a renewable plan, you begin to positively impact the environment immediately.
For both individuals and the nation, the ability to purchase renewable-energy plans is a promising solution to many rising economic and environmental challenges.
Which Energy Suppliers offer Renewable Plans?
Here is a list of renewable energy suppliers. Click on each one below to learn more information about them.
- Constellation Energy
- Frontier Utilities
- Spark Energy
- Clearview Energy
- Verde Energy USA
- First Choice Power
- Pulse Power
- Reliant Energy
- Tomorrow Energy
Enter your ZIP Code at the top of the page to see renewable providers and plan options available in your area.
Green Energy for Business
Businesses in states with energy deregulation have similar options to residential customers when it comes to 100% renewable power. Some common reasons businesses choose to switch to green energy are achieving reduction in energy costs, improving their environmental footprint, and creating a positive image in the marketplace.
To learn more about renewable options for your business, visit the business electricity page. You can request a quote and work with ElectricityRates.com’s network of leading providers on customized energy solutions for your business that include 100% renewable options.