Renewable energy is all the rage, and it’s no wonder - "renewable" means that these sources of energy will never disappear, deplete, or produce carbon dioxide emissions. This is an attractive option considering the threat of global warming due to fossil fuels. Together, the four types of renewable resources used for electricity - wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, and solar - account for about 13 percent of all US energy production. With the other 87 percent of American electricity still being generated by traditional sources, we thought it was time to identify the differences between renewable and nonrenewable electricity plans.
Unless you physically hook up a wind turbine or solar panels to your house, you are getting your power from "the grid." Electricity follows the path of least resistance, so your electricity is most likely coming from your local or regional generation sources. When the electricity hits the main lines, the electrons produced from nuclear, coal, wind, solar, and other sources all get mixed together into the grid.
By choosing a 100-percent renewable energy plan from your provider, you are financially supporting the increase of the total amount of renewable sources in the power supply mix in your electricity provider’s grid. Remember that all sources of electricity - both green and non-green - are filtered into the same grid. By maintaining a varied power supply mix, your electricity provider is better able to help the market, sending the most affordable sources of electricity to your home at any given time. Some providers are nimble enough to flip switches between power supplies within days, if the market fluctuates that rapidly.
With your 100-percent renewable energy plan, you’re still getting all of your electricity from the same grid in order to fulfill your immediate needs, but your provider then purchases renewable energy certificates (RECs) to offset your usage. A REC is a certificate that renewable energy generators create and sell to providers in order to help fund additional green energy projects.
If your electric provider is offering a 100-percent renewable energy plan, they are most likely purchasing enough RECs to equal or exceed customer usage, while still purchasing generic power from the grid. This guarantees their customers’ electricity usage is offset with a direct investment in 100-percent renewable energy. Therefore, you are purchasing a 100-percent renewable energy product while also investing in a cleaner grid for everyone.
When you purchase renewable energy, it does not mean your physical electricity is coming directly from renewable generation sources. Once the electrons from each source enter the grid, they blend together and can not be separated or filtered by source. However, it does mean that the electricity being poured back into the grid on your behalf comes from 100% renewable energy sources and not from polluting fossil fuels. You are choosing how your power is generated, not how it is delivered.
Spark Energy is proud to offer 100-percent renewable energy plan options
to all of our customers. If your current electric provider isn’t offering you that option, consider switching today!