3.19.2009

Green Power -- Are You Using It?

These days a lot of power distribution companies offer the choice to shop around. You can choose a supplier co-op, who shops for and supplies the cheapest energy that month. You can choose a supplier who uses only wind energy, or hydro and landfill gas. You can choose local power. Every state has different options, but almost everyone these days is offering some options.
It's not always easy to find the options, of course. You may have to sift through your power companies website to find them. My own power company, CL&P, let's customers know about these options every couple months with colorful informational inserts included with the bill: most people I know do not read these, and remain unaware that they have these options until I point them out. So chances are that you have the options, too, even if you don't know about them.

Here in the river valley where I live all our power was Hydro, until CL&P was swallowed by a larger company and became a distributor rather than a supplier & distributor. When I switched my supplier to Community Energy, which in CT offers 66% Wind Power and 34% New England Small Hydro, I wanted to support the creation of more wind farms with demand, but I did wonder if it was the best choice to reject my local hydro suppliers. Imagine my surprise recently when I found a tool from the EPA website breaking down my zip code's general power sources for the default CL&P user: only 6% hydro. Despite the fact that there are two hydro plants within 5 miles of my home, most of the power came from Nuclear, Gas & Coal sources. So, I am increasingly glad that I chose Community Energy, which supports both local hydro and new wind power.
Of course, someday I would love to have a geothermal & solar based home. But for now, in my small cottage that is on-grid, I am happy to be part of the greening of America. Because it will happen as we, the citizens, demand it. When you go off-grid, you gain self-sufficiency, but you lose your voice. The power companies write you off, and turn to other customers...

What about you? Have you looked into green power in your area? Do you supply some of your own energy?

3 comments:

Eco Yogini said...

This is a great post- cuz I think lots of people just don't know that they might have options. Unfortunately for myself, my provinces power is one choice only. They do have some wind power that supplements- but I'm pretty sure it's a small percentage.
Also- the province doesn't give much monetory support to supplement your own power with solar panels or turbines... BOO.
I do know that one company provides an oil option of bio-oil, however the percentage is kinda low. If I could I would definitely have even paid extra for a more eco option.

I'm excited I found your blog, you have some interesting info on here! :)

Farmer's Daughter said...

We signed up for clean energy options last year. The cost is so minimal compared to our energy bill that it's totally worth it.

In addition, they're looking at putting up two wind turbines by the Q bridge in New Haven. It's very exciting!

Healing Green said...

Don't worry Eco Yogini -- There are plenty of other things you can do to be green. In the meantime, try writing your power company to help give them a nudge in the right direction :)

Farmer's Daughter -- Oh, that's great! I've always thought windmills and turbines are so beautiful, in all their forms. (Don Quixote in a previous life??)What a wonderful thing it will be to see when one is stuck in rush hour traffic on 95.