Green energy from renewable resources is more abundant and reliable than ever. But should you switch to renewable energy? Is it even possible to switch from standard electricity service to green energy?
For many Americans, powering a home or business with green energy is possible. Here’s what you need to know to make the switch to a renewable energy plan.
Learn About Renewable Energy Generation
Before signing up for a 100% renewable energy plan it’s good to know where the electricity comes from and how green energy is generated. The most common renewable energy resources are solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower.
A green energy plan can be powered by any of the sources noted above or a combination. It mostly comes down to location. Hydropower is the most widespread form of renewable energy. Power Technology notes that as of 2018 hydropower accounts for more than half of global renewable energy generation capacity. In Texas, wind energy is the top renewable. And in California, you’ll find the world’s largest geothermal power plant.
Understanding these renewable energy sources helps you gauge what is likely to be available in your area, whether clean energy production is increasing and which renewable you prefer to use.
Clean Energy Generation vs Renewable Energy Certificates
Another point worth noting is that clean energy generation may not happen at your local utility. If the utility can’t produce clean energy themselves they can purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) from third-party providers.
When a clean energy producer generates a megawatt-hour of electricity a REC is credited. It’s proof that renewable energy was pumped into the grid (it’s impossible to determine the source once energy flows into the grid). The producer can then sell the REC to a supplier or utility who then applies it to a green energy plan. It’s an indirect way to get the energy that’s created using renewable resources.
In either case, the provider is helping ensure enough green energy is added to the grid to cover your energy use.
Find Green Energy Providers and Plans
Unfortunately, green energy isn’t available everywhere and not all providers have gotten on board with renewables. You’ll have to do a little research to figure out which providers offer green energy plans in your area, which is impacted by a few factors.
Deregulated vs Regulated Energy Markets
Deregulation plays a role in whether or not green electricity and natural gas service are available in your area. In a regulated market, there is only one energy provider – the local public utility. The availability of green energy plans hinges on if the local public utility is invested in using renewable resources.
In a deregulated market there are a number of retail energy suppliers each offering their own unique plans. You have a much better chance of finding a provider with a green energy plan in a deregulated market simply because there is more variety.
Partial vs 100% Clean Energy Plans
Some green energy plans are greener than others. There are providers who call their plans green, yet energy is still partially supplied by fossil fuels.
If you read through an energy plan contract you’ll find information on the energy sources. Even a 100% clean energy plan may include a mix of sources in a variety of locations.
Fortunately, renewable energy production has been ramping up in recent years. If the momentum continues, by 2035 renewables should account for half of all energy production in the world. If a 100% renewable energy plan isn’t offered in your area now there’s a good chance they will be in the near future.
Consider Producing Your Own Green Energy
While it isn’t a possibility for everyone, installing a solar array is another way to generate a personal supply of clean energy. If you have the funds for the installation (or can get a loan), own your home, and have enough sun exposure solar panels are a viable option. You can even work with your electricity supplier to sell back excess power that isn’t used.
In some areas, a local community solar project is another alternative. It’s a relatively new concept where a community group or utility creates their own solar farm and local consumers can either purchase a portion of the panels for their energy needs or buy electricity that’s generated by the farm. Membership is very limited, but if you’re in a regulated energy market it may be the only clean energy solution offered.
At Verde Energy, we make it amazingly easy to switch to a green electricity plan that fits your lifestyle. All you have to do is choose the plan that works best for you, and we’ll handle the rest. We have 100% renewable energy plans at competitive rates in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York. Compare 100% clean energy plans in your area!