Did you realize that every time you turn the lights on, you’re supporting the fossil fuel industry? Maryland’s electricity generation is supplied mainly by coal, nuclear and natural gas power plants, with only a small percentage coming from renewable resources.
Reduce your impact
The good news is that it’s easy to reduce your impact from electricity consumption. If you are able to, the best way is by installing a renewable energy system at your home, such as solar photovoltaic panels or a geothermal heat pump. This will not only reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, but also your electricity bills, and will end up paying for itself. Energy Sage has a neat calculator to find out how long the payback period is for your home. Additionally there are various incentives, tax credits, loans, and rebates that can help you finance your system. The Maryland Energy Administration website and dsireusa.org are good places to start.
Buying Clean Energy
If you can’t afford the upfront costs, or your roof is too shaded for solar, there is a simple solution. We are fortunate to live in an area where we can easily switch our electricity provider to one that only provides renewable energy. BGE still handles the transmission lines and delivery, so you’ll see no change in your service. The billing is also done through BGE so you won’t have to deal with additional bills. But for just a few extra dollars a month, you’ll be supporting renewable energy facilities, which in turns helps to ensure more renewable energy will be built to meet our area’s growing demands. You can reduce your carbon footprint from electricity use to zero with a few simple steps.
How to switch
Simply go online and select a new provider. BGE’s website has detailed information on how to choose and switch your supplier (you might need to login to the BGE website to see this page). Since you can’t tell where your electricity is coming from when you turn the lights on, there is a consumer protection program that ensures you are getting what you paid for. Look for the Green-e Energy symbol on any renewable energy you buy, and they’ll make sure your new provider isn’t making any false or misleading claims to you, and you aren’t being double sold. There is a terrific campaign, buycleanenergy.org, which allows you to enter your zip code and easily find Green-e Energy certified providers in your area. You can view each energy provider’s “Product Content Labels” to see what type of renewable energy they buy and from what region it’s sourced. I personally buy WGL Energy’s CleanSteps product because it’s sourced from wind projects located close to our region, but any renewable energy that is Green-e Energy certified is reputable. Make sure you sign the buycleanenergy.org roster when you’re done!