Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

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stargazer
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Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

Post by stargazer »

For an additional monthly fee, my electricity supplier (NYSEG) offers the option of designating that 200 kwh of my monthly electricity use will be derived from wind power. From the NYSEG website: "We can assure you that the wind energy you purchase is delivered to the New York power grid for statewide distribution, so your purchase makes a real difference."

Does anyone know how this works? What is the source of this wind power? Does NYSEG erect wind turbines from the monies collected from consumers who choose this option? Is there any way to ascertain that such measures actually make a collective difference in terms of reducing emissions (rather than simply increasing NYSEG's bottom line)? Have others on this forum chosen this alternative?

stargazer
Good Listener
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Re: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

Post by Good Listener »

I suspect there is a good heart to this but everything is fungible. It's not like because you sign up for this that there will suddenly be more green energy produced. In other words, it's nonsense.
objectivefunction
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Re: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

Post by objectivefunction »

I wonder if they just purchase wind energy credits from a secondary market. When I looked into solar for my house part of the payback calculation was selling SRECs to a regional market.
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CAsage
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Re: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

Post by CAsage »

Yes, people are voting with their pocketbooks on this issue. I chose to have 100% of my electric use derived from solar power (hey, it's CA). My understanding is that by paying ~20% more, my choice will support the development and investment in more renewable solar power. While the exact electrons that enter my house may not be directly provided by solar, they are purchasing my Kilowatt hours from a solar producer. You can google on "SCE green rate" to find out more.... One small step towards a renewable future.


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PFInterest
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Re: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

Post by PFInterest »

We do this to. Our small part until we have a place to put solar.
Dominic
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Re: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

Post by Dominic »

Good Listener wrote:I suspect there is a good heart to this but everything is fungible. It's not like because you sign up for this that there will suddenly be more green energy produced. In other words, it's nonsense.
Supply and demand. The more people who elect to buy renewable energy, the more utilities will expand their green energy producing capabilities.
azurekep
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Re: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

Post by azurekep »

stargazer wrote:
Does anyone know how this works? What is the source of this wind power? Does NYSEG erect wind turbines from the monies collected from consumers who choose this option? Is there any way to ascertain that such measures actually make a collective difference in terms of reducing emissions (rather than simply increasing NYSEG's bottom line)?
Terms and Conditions gives some answers:

WIND ENERGY DELIVERY ARRANGEMENT SERVICE
An arrangement will be made by NYSEG and CEI, on your behalf, for the delivery of wind-generated electricity produced at a wind farm in New York State or the mid-Atlantic region to the NYISO grid.

LIMITATION OF WIND SUPPLY
The production of electricity from wind varies daily and seasonally, so that the amount of wind-generated electricity supplied to the NYISO grid may vary from month to month. In the event that sufficient wind energy generation is not available to fulfill your agreement, you will be billed a lesser amount equal to the actual amount of Wind Energy delivered on your behalf.
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Kenkat
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Re: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

Post by Kenkat »

You are purchasing wind energy credits so someone, somewhere is generating wind energy and you are in effect laying claim to it. The generation of wind energy is going to occur at some capacity whether anyone buys credits or not - to a point at least. As long as there is more wind energy being generated than people willing to buy credits for it, energy suppliers will sell credits, with the rest of the wind generated energy just being sold on the open market. At some point however when there are more people wanting to buy credits than there are suppliers of wind energy, suppliers will either increase capacity, increase the price of credits or stop offering credits until capacity comes on line. So, these programs encourage alternate energy sources but it is in a mostly indirect way.

It is also important to remember that alternate energy sources like wind or solar cannot supply 100% of energy needs with current technology as the sun doesn't shine or the wind doesn't blow 24/7, so we will still need to burn dead plants and dinosaurs or split old decaying rocks for some of our energy needs in the foreseeable future.
Valuethinker
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Re: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

Post by Valuethinker »

Kenkat wrote:You are purchasing wind energy credits so someone, somewhere is generating wind energy and you are in effect laying claim to it. The generation of wind energy is going to occur at some capacity whether anyone buys credits or not - to a point at least. As long as there is more wind energy being generated than people willing to buy credits for it, energy suppliers will sell credits, with the rest of the wind generated energy just being sold on the open market. At some point however when there are more people wanting to buy credits than there are suppliers of wind energy, suppliers will either increase capacity, increase the price of credits or stop offering credits until capacity comes on line. So, these programs encourage alternate energy sources but it is in a mostly indirect way.
That's a good analysis. The demand effect would be small.

Some utilities however commit to directly reinvesting surplus resources into more renewables-- there are at least 2 in the UK that do so. One has to be careful re supplier.
It is also important to remember that alternate energy sources like wind or solar cannot supply 100% of energy needs with current technology as the sun doesn't shine or the wind doesn't blow 24/7, so we will still need to burn dead plants and dinosaurs or split old decaying rocks for some of our energy needs in the foreseeable future.
On that latter paragraph one should understand that number of necessary fossil fuels could be really small. The moments when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing *anywhere* *at all* are very few. And Demand Side Management is there-- the demand can be cut.

Having a big fleet of gas turbines that only run 3-5% of the year is not too onerous. A problem with nuclear, for example, is that when it trips it goes off the grid for days, weeks, months, years even, so utilities have to have that backup power in any case.

Energy storage is also proceeding by leaps and bounds-- the field looks a bit like solar cells did 15-20 years ago.
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Re: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

Post by Valuethinker »

stargazer wrote:For an additional monthly fee, my electricity supplier (NYSEG) offers the option of designating that 200 kwh of my monthly electricity use will be derived from wind power. From the NYSEG website: "We can assure you that the wind energy you purchase is delivered to the New York power grid for statewide distribution, so your purchase makes a real difference."

Does anyone know how this works? What is the source of this wind power? Does NYSEG erect wind turbines from the monies collected from consumers who choose this option? Is there any way to ascertain that such measures actually make a collective difference in terms of reducing emissions (rather than simply increasing NYSEG's bottom line)? Have others on this forum chosen this alternative?

stargazer
It's most likely that they simply buy renewable energy credits. That raises demand for RE in the round, but doesn't ensure that more RE capacity is installed/ generated.

A programme which commits to reinvesting its financial surplus in RE facilities would be better.

EDIT and post above appears to be suggesting that they do-- contract directly with a RE site. We can't be sure that leads to more RE generation but by strengthening the market for RE it may make such financially more attractive.

A counter suggestion. Take the money you would have spent on that RE programme (the additional) and donate it, monthly, to environmental charities and action groups. I do so with Rainforest Action Network and Bill McKibben's group (trying to avoid using the name due to politics restrictions, etc.).
RAN in and of itself does an amazing amount of good for the ecosystem of this planet-- a saved acre of rainforest is worth a lot more to the planet than a solar panel in NYC.

Small, regular, predictable monthly or quarterly contributions to charities are gold to them- -allows them to plan ahead financially. Money given that way is worth perhaps 2x to the charity than irregular lump sums.
mouses
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Re: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

Post by mouses »

I would support solar or nuclear energy generation if I had that choice. Wind turbines still kill tens of thousands of birds or more a year, plus bats, so I am not supporting that.
hightower
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Re: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

Post by hightower »

stargazer wrote:For an additional monthly fee, my electricity supplier (NYSEG) offers the option of designating that 200 kwh of my monthly electricity use will be derived from wind power. From the NYSEG website: "We can assure you that the wind energy you purchase is delivered to the New York power grid for statewide distribution, so your purchase makes a real difference."

Does anyone know how this works? What is the source of this wind power? Does NYSEG erect wind turbines from the monies collected from consumers who choose this option? Is there any way to ascertain that such measures actually make a collective difference in terms of reducing emissions (rather than simply increasing NYSEG's bottom line)? Have others on this forum chosen this alternative?

stargazer
We purchase renewable energy through our energy company here in Ohio as well. I consider it a way to voice my support for renewable energy. I will also be investing in solar panels very soon as well.
Valuethinker
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Re: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

Post by Valuethinker »

mouses wrote:I would support solar or nuclear energy generation if I had that choice. Wind turbines still kill tens of thousands of birds or more a year, plus bats, so I am not supporting that.
You really have to get a sense of proportion over this.

Birds killed (North America or USA data):

household cats - c. 3 billion
plate glass windows - c. 1 billion
cellphone towers - c. 6.8m
wind turbines - c. 300k (2014 number)

Quite literally household cats kill 10,000 times as many birds as wind turbines do. In addition, to the extent that they reduce coal fired power station emissions, wind turbines *save* the lives of birds and other wildlife. And, of course, in the long run a no carbon fuel source saves birds.

Let's assume the US scaled up wind turbines 10x, and at no point takes any further measures to ameliorate the situation (see Audobon Society report, below). Then 3 million birds, say - half the kill rate of cellphone towers.

Just some links:

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4134773/ns/us ... aths-year/

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/win ... ted-states

have you successfully opposed the installation of plate glass windows? Do you refuse to live in a house with same? Work in an office with same? Invest in companies that have buildings with same?

https://www.treehugger.com/renewable-en ... 00000.html

what about household cats? Do you participate in programmes to capture and kill household cats?

300k dead from wind turbines vs. 3 billion.

Yes you read that right. Plate glass kills c 1 billion birds a year in North America. Household cats kill 3 billion.

Wind farms? Not so much. 300k.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... bines-bats

There *are* a couple of issues. One, the first commercial wind turbine farm in the world (modern world) was Altamont Pass in CA, which happens to be a major centre of raptor migration. The turbines then were a lot smaller, with faster moving blades. This wasn't good. Now, they shut down those farms during migration season.

http://www.audubon.org/news/will-wind-t ... safe-birds

Another is a couple of species of bats that seem to have trouble-- maybe something to do with the frequency their sonar is operating on. Research continues. Given the scale of extinction of species going on in the world (The 6th Great Extinction as it is called) I am not sure whether a couple of bat species, more or less, really matters.
Hanksmoney
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Re: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

Post by Hanksmoney »

It's simply volunteering to subsidize renewable power. If it was being produced and distributed for a cost on par with other sources, there would be no additional charge for it on your bill. Nothing wrong with asking customers to chip in if they want it.
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Re: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

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