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Published on August 11th, 2016 | by Guest Contributor

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Vote with Your Utility Bill for Wind Energy

By Carolyn Fortuna


What comes to mind when you consider the costs of energy? Usually, we focus on the dollar amount. That’s what we have to pay for our utility bills or at the gas pump. But there’s another, possibly more important cost to energy: the “social cost.” When we speak about the social cost, we’re referring to the social cost of carbon, or SCC.

The SCC is the estimated price of the damages caused by each ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere. Even as scientists refine their models to try to understand the SCC effect on our environment, their predictions are uncertain.

In the U.S., the SCC is significant when we take into account that we’re the world’s No. 1 consumer of petroleum and natural gas; we’re No. 2 when it comes to coal and electricity. Several approaches set out in America’s Power Plan provide a roadmap to a high renewables future without sacrificing affordability or reliability.

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One of the plan’s main recommendations is to move toward performance-based regulation of utilities. That rewards shifting to a cleaner and more reliable grid, which can help point the U.S. toward a more sustainable energy future.

Over the last few years, national policymakers, utilities, and industry groups have repeatedly claimed President Obama’s Clean Power Plan regulations for existing power plants will raise utility costs and sacrifice reliable electricity service. But there are many examples that tell a different story. In Colorado, for example, renewable energy is replacing coal power plants and driving down the cost of electricity service without sacrificing reliability.

Smart regulation combined with rapidly improving economics of solar and wind are making electricity systems more affordable and cleaner. But, sometimes, it seems as if consumers can’t participate in the move toward more sustainable energy systems, doesn’t it? How can you gain access and power as a consumer who is part of a progressive community dedicated to energy conservation and sustainability?

Well, here’s one option you might consider if you want to vote with your utility bill. Arcadia Power gives homeowners, renters, and businesses in all 50 states who pay a utility bill a simple way to choose clean energy.

For each kilowatt-hour (kWh) you use, they match it with a kWh produced by a wind farm. This is tracked by purchasing and retiring Green-e Energy certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) on your behalf. They also provide you with a monthly statement and certificate for the number of RECs you’ve purchased. You can track your detailed impact every month and see which wind farms you are supporting in your Acadia Power energy dashboard.

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What impact would you make if you opted to join an alternative energy program through Acadia Power? Every month, your home uses a mix of energy that includes fossil fuels from your electricity supplier or local utility. When you join Arcadia Power, you use your monthly energy bill to vote for renewable energy. You become one more household driving the demand for a cleaner energy future.

The national momentum is starting to swing more and more toward renewable energy options. States like Massachusetts are shifting their energy policies to purchase much more energy from offshore wind and other renewable sources.

Donald Jessome, CEO of Transmission Developers, Inc., as reported by the Massachusetts Clean Electricity Partnership, said in a July 2016 statement that Massachusetts has taken “an extraordinary step” toward a more clean and affordable energy portfolio through resources like wind power. Now you can, too, through purchasing RECs as part of your sustainable energy consumption plan. It’s time to vote with your bill.

This post was sponsored by Arcadia Power, images from Arcadia Power

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