Want to make the electricity you use in your home or business greener? Find out if your utility company offers a green electricity program (sometimes called green pricing), a plan that lets you use electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar. According to BrighterEnergy.org
, more than 850 utilities in the United States now offer green electricity programs, and more than 650,000 people across the country are purchasing renewable energy to power their lives.
Here's how it works. If your utility offers a green pricing program, you can sign up to replace your regular electricity (in most places across the country it's going to be coming from dirty fossil fuels like coal) with renewable electricity. Most utilities offer renewable energy in blocks of kilowatt hours from a small amount to 100 percent of your electricity bill and you'll be able to choose how much you want to buy. The cost of the energy you purchase will be based on your actual electricity usage.
Most utilities charge a small premium to cover the cost of additional renewable energy; it's usually just pennies on the dollar added to your electric bill. As more people sign up for green power and demand for renewable electricity increases, the costs will keep going down. (In the meantime, use the energy you need more efficiently by cutting down on phantom load
or taking the Minnesota Energy Challenge
Want to find out if your electric utility offers a green pricing program? If you live in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, or New Mexico and you're an Xcel Energy customer, you can take advantage of Xcel's Windsource program
(or see your other options below). If you live in other states, check out the U.S. Department of Energy's website
or a site called Green-e
the country's leading independent certification and verification program for renewable energy in the retail market. You'll be able to find out if your local utility offers a green electricity program and how to sign up. If it does, be sure to take advantage of it. If your utility doesn't offer a renewable electricity program, ask it to start one!
Alliant Energy -- Second Nature Great River Energy -- Wellspring Renewable EnergyMinnesota Power -- WindSense North Saint Paul Municipal Utilities -- Green Power Choice OtterTail Power -- TailWinds Xcel Energy -- Windsource
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