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.
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.
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.
Been hearing from "green electricity" suppliers like CleanChoice Energy? You want to support the generation of electricity from renewable sources, but how do you know if a green power program will use your dollars to speed our transition to clean energy? How would you know whether your purchase of green power is actually contributing to shifting the mix of electricity that powers our electric grid away from fossil fuels?
These are valid questions that we, as a non-profit energy organization working in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and offering a program that allows you to make the switch to renewable energy, get asked every day. So here it is: Green Power Bootcamp, in a blog.
At Green Energy Consumers, we talk a lot about the importance of energy efficiency and conservation. But, for a few hours every year, reducing our energy usage becomes especially important: on the hottest and coldest days of the year, energy use is the highest and electricity is dramatically more expensive and polluting. These high-demand days are called peak days, and we’re calling on our members to help us Shave the Peak by taking straightforward steps to reduce energy usage for a few hours on these days.
For over a hundred years, the rap on electricity was that you could not store as usefully as you could store oil, gas, coal, and wood. That has made matching power supply with demand a challenge. More recently, we have been told by New England utilities and their ally, the so-called “Independent Operator of New England” (ISO-NE) that increasing amounts of wind and solar, intermittent resources, will make the challenge even harder.
How do we upgrade our electric grid to accommodate more renewables and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring affordability for all customers? This is a question PP&L and others in the energy community have been tackling through the ongoing electric and gas rate case proceedings at the Public Utilities Commission. In 2017 National Grid submitted a proposal to the Public Utilities Commission to increase gas and electric rates to maintain service reliability and upgrade the system. And now after several months, it appears that a consensus has been reached.
Original artwork from Mass. College of Art and Design student, Erin MacEachern, created for People's Power & Light/Mass Energy
Rhode Island is actively adding more solar, electric vehicles (EVs), and other distributed sources of energy across the state. These clean technologies are essential to reach our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and offer more choices to consumers. These sources also create unique costs and benefits, as well as new demands on our antiquated electric grid.
I had the pleasure of being at Massachusetts Attorney General (AG) Maura Healey’s press conference at which she released a report detailing how 500,000 residential consumers who chose competitive electricity suppliers have been ripped off and green-washed.
Tags: Electricity and the grid
On January 17, 2018, ISO New England (“ISO”) released a draft of its Operational Fuel Security Analysis. This study lays out many different possibilities for a 2024/25 winter, assessing the electric grid’s reliability under a varying array of assumptions. ISO’s main finding is clear: adding more renewables and more imports, and increasing the availability of LNG deliveries and backup oil during supply emergencies, will all contribute to improved system reliability.