Saturday, September 22, 2007

Green Power!

I was just paying my electric bill online and when I signed out I saw a description on the Puget Sound Energy web site of a program called "Green Power" where for a modest surcharge you can purchase some or all of your electricity from renewable energy sources. I had opted-in to a "wind power" program when I was living in Colorado and was disappointed that there wasn't a similar program here in the state of Washington when I moved here 16 months ago. Or maybe there was and I missed it. In any case, I just submitted an "inquiry" to join the program.

I am opting to purchase 100% of my electricity from "green" renewable and non-polluting sources such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydrogen/fuel cells, wave or tidal action, etc.

Now, it turns out that a lot of the electricity here in Washington comes from hydroelectric anyway, but actually not even a majority of it. I'm not sure whether hydro is technically considered "renewable", but I would think it should be.

In any case, next to reducing my energy usage, I am literally doing the best and most I can to reduce the environmental impact of my electricity consumption.

I'm not sure exactly how much this will cost me each month, but I think it will be a maximum (for me) of $4 additional per month. $4 is the surcharge for 320 kWh of renewable electricity. That is supposedly the minimum, with an option for $2 for additional blocks of 160 kWh. I opted for "100 percent" which has a surcharge of $0.0125 per kWh. My typical monthly usage is well under 200 kWh for my studio apartment, so my nominal surcharge would be less than $2.50 per month, but I suspect I will get hit with that $4 minimum. No big deal, but I hate getting dinged for minimums, even if it is for a good cause.

Now, I suppose you could say that I am doing something to help fight Global Warming and Climate Change. I personally am not a member of that political and social movement, but I don't believe you need to be to simply support a cleaner environment and more efficient use of resources. My personal view is that if people simply focus on reducing pollution (the traditional  kind, before "they" began pretending that carbon dioxide was a "pollutant") and improving efficiency, we will do both something very useful to society and as a side effect reduce carbon dioxide anyway. It's a classic win-win without all the "11th Hour" crap.

Check with your local utility to see if they also have a "green" power option.

-- Jack Krupansky

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