Renewable energy is a hot topic these days. Most of us want to be more energy-efficient, decrease our carbon footprint and live in a way that responsibly helps the environment. But is “going green” actually helping? Let’s look at three common myths about renewable energy to find out.
Myth: I don’t live near a renewable energy generation facility so I can’t “go green”
The thought here is that if a person resides in a location where they don’t have access to a renewable energy generation facility and their residence isn’t conducive for solar panels or another type of renewable energy source, that they can’t “go green”.
Fact: Anyone can be part of supporting renewable energy
Some utilities and energy suppliers who don’t have renewable energy sources may offer “green” REC-based energy. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are the environmental attributes that are produced when a renewable energy source, like wind or solar, generates one mega-watt (MW) of electricity and delivers it to the energy grid. When you enroll in a REC-based renewable energy plan, RECs are purchased on your behalf to match your usage. When a REC is purchased, renewable energy is delivered to the grid and you are contributing to a cleaner energy supply! Anyone who lives in the United States can purchase RECs, even if they aren’t offered by your local utility or energy supplier.
Myth: Renewable energy is expensive
The presumption can be that new technology is more expensive than current technology, and thus unaffordable. Purchasing RECs and solar panels. Developing wind farms. Renewable energy must be more expensive…
Fact: Renewable energy costs are comparable, sometimes less, than that of traditional energy
The overall costs of electricity generation from different sources can be compared using a measure called the levelized cost of electricity. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is a reliable source for a deep dive on electricity costs. The most current data shows that the price of renewables has fallen to the point that they are comparable to or cheaper than conventional fossil fuels.
Over time, the cost of solar, in particular, has fallen due to a decrease in the price of parts and because of supply and demand. Also, net-metering allows you to sell back unused solar power your solar panels generate to the grid.
Another factor impacting overall cost of renewable energy is from available tax credits. You can find out more about all currently available tax credits and rebates here.
Myth: I’m only one person so even if I use renewable energy, it’s not really going to impact the environment
In the immensity of the world, how is it possible that one individual residence “going green” can make an impact on the environment?
Fact: Even one residence CAN impact the environment
According to calculations provided by the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator the average home in the United States consumes 10,200 kWh of electricity each year. That’s equivalent to 7.2 metric tons of carbon dioxide, 812 gallons of gasoline consumed, or 919,739 cell phones charged.
If you’d like to learn more about renewable energy, AEP Energy offers a library of resources on this topic. If you’re interested in enrolling with AEP Energy, you can see all plans available in your area here.