Clicking map goes to a DOE webpage, then please come back!
Happy Earth Day! If you’ve had enough of the same tired suggestions to recycle more or turn off your lights when you leave the room, and feel like maybe that’s just not cutting it these days, I humbly propose that you can do more. Right now. Easy, and cheap.
You can run your home on renewable energy right now.
While it’s super fun to have solar on your roof, that’s not the only way to put more clean energy on the grid. In most parts of the US, you can choose to buy enough renewable energy to cover part, or all, of your electricity bill. In some utility markets, the program is through your utility; in others with deregulated utility markets, you can choose a new provider which produces clean energy. The DOE has more information about these programs here. The map above is shaded based on the number of options available in each state – click your state to see the DOE page which lists your local options, and choose one today! Really. I worked hard on that map, make me proud!
How it works in Minnesota…
Here in Minnesota (and other states as well), Xcel offers Windsource, a program which funds contracts for additional wind energy on the grid. In 2012, Xcel announced that it had sold its billionth kWh of Windsource energy – that’s one billion kWh generated from wind which would not have been generated without subscriber participation. In 2013, 33,000 Minnesota homes and 264 businesses participated in Windsource. It’s surprisingly cheap; while there is an extra cost for the program, all fuel cost charges are removed because, after all, the actual wind is free:
As you can see from my January bill above, my net cost was only half a cent per kWh after the fuel charge was removed.
If you’re an Xcel customer and want to sign up for Windsource, you can do it right here, right now. You can choose all or part of your bill, but I’d go big, and do your whole bill. It’s cheap, and it feels good.
… and everywhere else
Other utilities and other states have similar programs; click your state in the map above to get details, links, and pricing information for your local options.
Let me know!
Did this post motivate you to sign up for clean power? Have you already signed up for renewable energy? What has been your experience with these utility programs? Let me know in the comments below, and hey – good job doing something more relevant on Earth Day!
Nice. I did not think about the fuel surcharge for non-renewable power. Now I know.
Can Xcel energy actually prove to you that your specific kwh REC purchase was not resold to another customer?
Xcel does reporting on the program with the PUC annually; they show funds in and funds out and energy delivered, as far as I know. I suppose that in the end you have to trust them; as much as you need to trust them to not over-bill your account or anything else.