Understanding Green Power in Virginia
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a list of winners for the Clean Power Plan for the last several years. Among the winners are non-profit organizations, mainly from the utility companies, who have gained important recognition by participating in the program. Some of the ” Winners” include The Clean Energy Collective; Detroit Edison; The Electric Company; Georgia Power, Consumers Power; Midwest Power Co., American Electric Power Co., and Kentucky Power. The losers were fossil-burning power plants and nuclear plants. According to the EPA, greenhouse gas emissions “by every measure” are the largest single cause of air pollution in the U.S. The report goes on to warn that the Clean Power Plan will only achieve its goal of reducing coal-burning carbon emissions if we act boldly to “reduce, and ultimately eliminate, carbon dioxide emissions that have contributed largely to climate change.”
From the standpoint of consumers
what is meant by “reducing carbon emissions,” is that utility suppliers and industrial plants should produce, buy and deliver power with a minimal amount of carbon. This is accomplished through carbon reduction programs. The reductions occur through improved energy efficiency, demand reduction, generation of renewable or clean energy conservation. Consumers can “vote with their feet” by making their preferences known to utility suppliers. In other words, it is up to you to show your support for cleaner energy by making your voice heard by those whose decisions affect your daily life.
With increased awareness of global warming
and increasing concerns over water availability and pollution, there is a growing concern about green power programs and the impact they could have on our environment. Although utilities have been involved in many green power programs, they continue to generate a majority of their electricity using fossil fuels. Even if some portion of their energy requirements were replaced by renewable energy sources, the impact would likely be small. There are currently no federal or state regulations that require utilities to provide green power.
Businesses and industrial companies
have an even greater need for green power because of the high cost of energy. As it turns out, one of the major reasons that utility suppliers have not been more aggressive in promoting renewable energy is that the costs involved are too high. In addition, utility companies are generally unwilling to take on the additional costs of new technologies. For this reason, many business-owned businesses prefer to pursue the utility business themselves rather than having to acquire and manage another company’s overhead and operational expenses.
Green power will continue to play
an important part of our energy future. However, while there are many advantages to using green power, the growth of the industry has not been as quick as anticipated. Many incentives and programs are in place to promote the growth of this growing sector, but many incentives only pay up to 15% of a business’s initial investment. Most businesses are not able to recoup this investment from customers alone. As a result, many companies are choosing to remain on the utility-sales side of business utility suppliers.
Virginia is not unique in terms of its dependence
on outside energy sources. Other common areas that rely heavily on utility sales include New Jersey and Maryland. While some may view reliance on these sources as an attempt to limit government intervention, others see it as a necessity for survival. Even though Virginia remains a popular natural gas and electricity provider, the recent economic indicators are not good. With over three million people losing their jobs, and over two hundred thousand homes lost to foreclosure in the last year, it is clear that Virginians need to reassess how they generate their electricity and gas.