When we lived in Santa Monica, CA, we did not have the option of buying “green power” – the electric company said that everyone paid a little more for their power so they could invest in new technologies. But when we moved here, we were actually given a choice to buy our percentage of electricity from wind powered generators, and we jumped at the chance. Here in New Mexico, 85 of our power comes from burning coal – one of the worst environmental offenders. But many of the local companies (here we have an electric co-op, where we all own a piece of it by paying our bills) are now offering wind powered “blocks” that you can buy, and the more people that do it the more money will be spent on these new technologies. To figure out how many blocks I would need to buy to offset our electric usage, I looked at our last bill and saw that we used 250 kwh of power – a pretty small amount for a house this size. To offset these 250 kwh, I needed to buy 300 kwh blocks of wind power – for $5 more per bill. So while our bill went up $5 a month, I feel good knowing that I am both offsetting my electric usage with green power and helping the company invest in more wind farms. Need more reasons to invest in wind power? How about these 10 from my electric co-op:
1. Help clean our region’s air – reduces smog, acid rain and air pollution
2. Make a difference – be part of the effort to speed the transition to clean energy
3. Conservation for future generations – wind and solar need to be developed now before the oil and gas get prohibitively expensive
4. Money talks – the more customers that sign up, the more wind power will be installed
5. “Cheaper” energy actually costs more – between smog, acid rain, oil spills, nuclear waste storage & global warming, the total costs add up to more than wind power does
6. Reduce your own pollution – this is a cheap, easy way to reduce the environmental impact of your energy use
7. Minimize climate change – each penny spent on wind power keeps nearly a pound of carbon dioxide out of the air
8. It’s inexpensive – At $5 for us, we are preventing 5000 pounds of air pollution a year, the equivalent of not driving your car 5000 miles!
9. It’s your choice – how many things do we have a choice in when it comes to utilties?
10. It’s the right thing to do. Period.
Since not all utility companies push their green power programs, you really need to just call yours up and ask them if they have a plan available to customers. And if they don’t, ask them why! A few extra bucks goes a long way if we all invested in green power at home!