Energy is one of the most basic elements of our society today - it powers our homes, businesses and even our vehicles. However, energy production has become the major source of air pollution in the United States, harming our health and our environment. Gas, coal and other fossil fuels are the primary sources used in the production of electricity and are considered non-renewables (i.e. they cannot be easily replenished).
In the case of electricity generation, Green Power is generated using renewable resources, those that can be used sustainably; i.e. replenished at a rate equal to or less than the rate at which they are used, with the goal of having a lighter environmental impact and reducing harmful emissions.
Sources of green or renewable electricity include such sources as solar, wind, biomass, hydro, geothermal or municipal solid waste. There still exists a healthy debate regarding the labeling of some of these resources as green or renewable. All power generation sources have quantifiable environmental impacts with solar, wind, and small hydro production being the cleanest.
Recently, governmental agencies and non-profits have been promoting greener power through state, regional, and federal initiatives. Entities such as the non-profit Maine Green Power Connection and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Green Power Partner Program have active programs to promote greater understanding and use of green power. We frequently request Renewable Energy Certificate options for member and we can meet the needs on any LEED project in your community.
Maine’s existing small hydro facilities and wood fired biomass plants use readily available renewable resources, the use of which have the added benefit of supporting Maine’s economy. The Maine Public Utilities Commission has categorized Maine’s sustainably run wood biomass plants as neutral emitters of CO2 the most prevalent greenhouse gas and as producing lower levels of N0x and SO2 than production by fossil fuels.
Wind and solar generation exist on a very small scale in Maine; larger wind farms are in the planning stage for several sites. Maine PowerOptions members have been leaders in the State of Maine through their purchase of Green Power. MPO member, York Hospital signed the first commercial renewable supply contract in the State of Maine.
Maine PowerOptions members have requested “greener” electricity options for a variety of reasons including concerns regarding air quality, pollution related health issues, and depletion of natural resources. Maine PowerOptions can provide green electricity supply and/or Tradable Renewable Certificates to all members and all rate classes. MPO works with suppliers to custom blend products to match a member’s renewable and price parameters.
All Maine PowerOptions green products benefit customers by having a positive impact on the environment through their choice of energy and promote the development of generation from Maine, New England’s and the United States’ renewable energy resources.
Figure 2: Net Generation Shares by Energy Source:
Total (All Sectors), Year-to-Date through September, 2009 (Source EIA)