The first thing most people do when they walk into a room is to turn the lights on. But most people do not think of how that power got there and where it came from. In reality, electricity is a complex system responsible for the generation, transmission and distribution of electrons. So how do we know if the electricity we’re using came from renewable energy or not? The answer: Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). But in order to understand how RECs work and how they do their part to clean our grid, we must first understand how the grid brings electricity to our homes and businesses, and how it operates as a whole.
As you may have heard by now, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are 2 out of 28 states that have a state mandate requiring retail electricity suppliers to provide a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable energy sources. And even though the RPS and RES are different as their names suggest, they have a common goal: to increase the amount of renewable energy in the region and to lower greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. They do so by requiring electric utilities and competitive power suppliers to include increasing amounts of renewable energy in their supply mixes each year. For purely political reasons, municipally-owned utilities are exempt.
In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, emissions from transportation are our biggest climate problem. Although emissions from electricity generation aren’t dropping as fast as we need them to, energy efficiency programs, renewable energy development, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have put power-sector emissions on a downward trend. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about transportation emissions when almost all of our cars, trains, buses, and other vehicles run on petroleum internal combustion engines. Vehicle electrification is absolutely necessary for us to attain our climate goals.
This is an update from previous blogs on the subjects covered here.
Have you recently received salespeople at your door or offers in the mail from competitive electricity suppliers? They lay the pitch on thick with too-good-to be true rates and feel-good energy mixes. It may seem hard to poke holes in the pitch, but under the smiling surface, many of these suppliers use smoke and mirror marketing to get their foot in the door and your signature on a contract.
We believe electric cars are great. They reduce emissions by about 75-80% compared to gasoline cars. And they cost less to run because it’s cheaper to run on electricity than petroleum and they require less maintenance. But for the time being, without governmental incentives, the cost of the battery generally makes electric vehicles (EVs) cost a bit more upfront. So federal tax credits and state rebates are important for the next few years until battery costs come down a bit more. If you’re in the market for a new car and considering an EV (as you should!), here’s news you can use.
Tags: electric cars
Given the work that we do on green energy, people frequently ask us what we think about Tesla and Elon Musk. Because there’s so much to Tesla and its main man, we have several separate but related points to make.
Tags: electric cars
Our Climate Change Perspectives mini-blog series is a 3-part series that brings to light the personal impacts of climate change on Green Energy Consumers' staff members' lives. This series aims to clarify what is at stake for people around the world and how those realities influence the choices we make on a daily basis.
Yaima Braga is our Energy Programs Manager.
Here’s some news! Our organization has legally changed its name to Green Energy Consumers Alliance, Inc. This single new name better reflects our nonprofit mission: to harness the power of energy consumers to speed the transition to a low-carbon future.
By way of history, Mass Energy Consumers Alliance (Mass Energy) and People’s Power & Light were once two separate nonprofit organizations. Mass Energy actually began as the Boston Fuel Consortium in 1982, while People’s Power & Light started in 2002. Pursuing similar missions, we merged in 2006 as Energy Consumers Alliance of New England, but continued to operate with separate brands in each state until this week.
Our Climate Change Perspectives mini-blog series is a 3-part series that brings to light the personal impacts of climate change on Mass Energy/People's Power & Light staff members' lives. This series aims to clarify what is at stake for people around the world and how those realities influence the choices we make on a daily basis.
Pua Higginson is our phenomenal Marketing & Outreach Coordinator.