By David von Seggern, Sierra Club Maine Volunteer
Full disclosure: you will pay a premium. In return, you get the satisfaction of knowing that you have contributed to the generation of green electricity in the State of Maine and, in a virtual sense, own the renewable energy generated.
Sierra Club Maine members should be interested in a program that is sponsored by the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC). The Maine Green Power program enables individuals who have an account with an electricity distributor such as Central Maine Power to support the development of green energy supplies for the State of Maine. This does not exactly buy green electrons for your home or business power supply because, once on the grid, there is no way of separating electrical power from renewable generators such as solar or wind from the power generated by other, often fossil fuel, facilities.
So, how does it work? For a premium on your monthly electricity bill, you will purchase “blocks" of a Renewable Energy Credit (REC). A purchase may be as small as 1/2 block each month for the price of $4.95. Small purchases like this are aggregated by the MPUC to purchase a full REC. You can read more about how RECs work in this short document. These RECs are often traded on an open market, but yours is not for sale to anyone else. Your REC, or actually a portion thereof, is eventually “retired” with collected REC funds going to the developer. In practice, developers are compensated far less than 100% of the initial costs, but enough to make it an incentive.
As Maine strives to reach a goal of 80% of its electricity generation coming from renewable sources by the year 2030, the RECs serve as an incentive to get more solar and wind generation built. Your personal investment, paid in monthly installments for as long as you wish, acts as an incentive to develop those resources that will meet the state’s goal.
But meeting the state’s goal is only one reason to purchase RECs. As a Sierra Club member, you are part of an organization which is aggressively trying to avert climate catastrophe. A primary tool for that is increasing the portion of our electricity supply that is made from renewable energy generators, such as solar and wind farms. The RECs you purchase will overwhelmingly support wind and solar as opposed to the other allowable “clean” renewable sources in Maine’s 2030 goal.
Purchasing RECs through Maine Green Power is a fairly direct way to bring about the changes which you wish and which the world needs. As your green power support grows with each monthly payment, you can take increased pride in your contribution to the energy transition, to cleaner air and water, and to a sustainable planet.
Go to Maine Green Power and enroll to purchase renewable electricity generation for our state. Nearly 5,000 Mainers have already done so. No contract, third-party billing, or startup hassles. Cancel anytime.