Renewable energy sources can restore themselves over shorter periods of time and do not diminish. The five most common renewable energy sources include:
- Water (hydropower)
- Biomass (wood, solid waste, landfill gas and biogas)
The use of renewable energy is not new. More than 150 years ago, wood (biomass) supplied up to 90 percent of our energy needs. Now coal, petroleum and natural gas serve as dominant sources of energy.
According to the Maryland Strategic Energy Plan (2008), Maryland is facing significant electricity challenges that have real world impacts on its economy, environmental quality and overall standard of living. Growing demand, limited supply and highly congested transmission capacity are challenges to maintaining affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity to power homes and businesses. Renewable energy is one part of a solution.
Maryland's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires that 20 percent of Maryland's electricity be generated from renewable energyresources by 2022, including 2 percent from solar. Rockville is supporting this statewide goal with innovative government and community energy initiatives.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Green Power Community Challenge is a national campaign that encourages communities to use green power to promote environmental sustainability, energy innovation and a reduction in carbon emissions.
The Rockville Mayor and Council agreed unanimously on February 28, 2011 to partner with EPA to become a Green Power Community, and now the City is issuing a challenge to residents and businesses to voluntarily switch their electricity source to green power. Low prices for clean energy products, in many cases below Pepco's standard price to compare, make purchasing clean energy more affordable and easy.
During the course of Rockville’s Green Power Community Challenge, the City will track and report the community’s collective green power use to EPA from March through August. In September, the community with the highest green power percentage and the community that uses the most kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power will receive national recognition from EPA.
The City's goal is to increase the green power purchased to at least 3 percent of the community's total electricity use, or 65.8 million kWh. This is approximately the annual energy used by 5,958 average single-family homes. This is enough energy to offset approximately 117.7 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions in one year. That is equivalent to eliminating the:
- Greenhouse gas emissions generated by 10,215 passenger vehicles in one year; or
- CO2 emissions from more than 6 million gallons of gasoline consumed.
The challenge is a continuation of Rockville's commitment to sustainability and climate protection outlined in the Strategy for a Sustainable Rockville, the Mayors ClimateProtection Agreement and the "Quality Environment" theme in the Mayor and Council Vision 2020.
By participating in the challenge, Rockville is joining more than 36 cities and towns throughout the nation in competition to increase the nation's green power capacity. Benefits of the program include:
- Increased national support for the development of new renewable energy capacity, energy innovation and green jobs.
- EPA recognition and technical support for communities that take a leadership role in the promotion of green power.
- Collective environmental benefits, such as improved air quality and reduced carbon emissions, resulting for the actions of households and businesses across the nation. Every average American home that uses 100 percent green power helps avoid more than 18,000 pounds of CO2 emissions—that is the same emissions savings as taking 1.6 passenger vehicles off the road, saving 918 gallons of gasoline or recycling 2.7 tons of waste.
Rockville is designated as an official "Green Power Community" by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in recognition of its commitment to green power use. All of Rockville's municipal buildings, City utility systems and streetlights are powered by approximately 60 percent green energy from wind (more than 9.6 million kilowatt hours). This is enough green energy to offset approximately 17 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions in one year. That is equivalent to eliminating:
- Greenhouse gas emissions generated by 1,493 passenger vehicles in one year;
- CO2 emissions from 878,299 gallons of gasoline consumed; or
- CO2 emissions from the electricity use of 948 average American homes for one year.
Status updated: October 25, 2011
|67,188,768||Total annual green power usage (kWh)|
|102%||Community green power energy goal achieved|
|Impact of Rockville's Green Power Usage:|
|112,336,933||Pounds of carbon dioxide emissions avoided|
|Which is equivalent to avoiding the emissions generated by:|
|5,712,464||Gallons of gasoline|
|6,354||Average American homes (annual electricity use)|
See how Rockville compares to other communities in the Green Power Community Challenge Rankings.
There are three ways that Rockville residents and businesses can help the City achieve the Green Power Community Challenge goal:
- Purchase Clean Energy from a Supplier: Your local utility, Pepco, will still deliver the electricity to your home, but you can choose another company to generate the electricity.
If your home or business purchases green power, your green power supplier will automatically report your contribution to the challenge.
- Purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs): Each Renewable Energy Credit (REC) represents one-megawatt hour of renewable electricity generated and delivered to the grid and the environmental benefit of displacing pollution from traditional fossil fuel energy generation.
If you purchase RECs for your home or business, e-mail the following information to email@example.com so that the City can report your contribution to EPA: site address (at least street name); green power provider name; green power product name; kWh/year of green power purchased; REC energy resource mix (% wind, solar, etc.); and REC 3rd party certification status (No, Green-e, Clean-e, CRT, Ecologo/TerraChoice or Other).
- On-site Renewable Energy Generation: Install solar panels or another renewable energy technology at your home or business. Each kilowatt-hour of power generated from a Rockville solar electric system will count toward the challenge goal.
If your business or home has an on-site renewable energy system, please email the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may report your contribution to EPA: site address (at least street name); onsite generation technology type (solar, wind, etc.); green power production (kWh/year); rated capacity (kW); and year installed.
Switching to a green power supplier is simple. You don't need to install special equipment to receive clean energy. By choosing a competitive energy supplier, you choose to buy a percentage (or all) of your electricity from clean energy sources like wind or solar. This clean energy is delivered to your house by your local utility in the same way it provides regular energy.
If you haven't already entered into a contract with a competitive electricity supplier, you can switch suppliers today.If you already have a contract, be sure to check it before you switch products or suppliers. To avoid penalties, you might have to wait until your current contract expires to change suppliers. Follow these steps and tips to help you make the switch:
Step 1: Find a Clean Energy Supplier
Step 2: Evaluate Offers from Electricity Suppliers
Take your time to evaluate your options. You may receive offers from electricity suppliers through direct mail, telemarketing, advertising and through the Internet. Read offers carefully and ask the suppliers questions:
- Is the energy price fixed or can it fluctuate month to month? Does it vary by amount used or time of use?
- What is the length of the contract? Is there an early termination fee or a fee if you switch to another supplier before the contract period is over? How much notice is required to switch suppliers?
- Will the contract automatically renew at the end of the term? How much notice must you give if you don't wish to renew?
- How is the electricity generated—coal, gas, nuclear, hydro, wind, etc.? What percentage of the fuel source is renewable, and what are the emissions levels?
- Is the renewable energy certified by a third party (such as Green-e)?
- Is there a deposit or sign-on fee? A fee for late payments? Any other fees?
- Will you be billed by the supplier or by the electric company? Will you receive two separate bills or one combined bill?
Step 3: Compare Prices
You may be surprised that you can save money by switching to clean energy. You should first know your Maryland Pepco Residential and Small Business Price to Compare, which is the average cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for generation and transmission services, based on your rate classification. The Price to Compare is a tool for you to use in comparing Pepco's Standard Offer Service (SOS) rates with offers from competing green energy providers.
Quick tip: The Maryland Office of People's Counsel compiles monthly electric supplier prices by utility service area to help consumers compare prices.
Step 4: Select a Program and Make the Switch
Select the best program to meet your needs and make the switch. All you need is your utility account number and your address, and you can sign up for clean energy through a supplier's website. The supplier will then contact you to confirm the change. For more information on electricity purchasing guides:
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) account for the environmental benefits of renewable energy. Though some of the energy available in the grid is generated using a renewable resource, this clean energy can't be distinguished from the millions of other electrons moving through the grid to reach your home or business.
Therefore, RECs represent the property rights to the environmental benefits of renewable electricity generation. As renewable generators produce electricity, they create one REC for every 1,000 kilowatt-hours (or 1 megawatt-hour) of electricity placed on the grid. Buyers can select RECs based on the generation source (e.g., wind, solar, geothermal), when the generation occurred, as well as the location of the renewable generator.
Increasingly, governments, businesses and individuals are purchasing RECS to meet their environmental goals for renewable energy generation, avoid carbon dioxide emissions associated with conventional energy generation, reduce air pollution, hedge against potential future electricity price increases, and to demonstrate sustainable leadership. Purchasing RECs helps to create a market for renewable energy.
Tips for Purchasing RECs:
Installing solar panels or other renewable energy technology on your home or business is becoming more popular and affordable. Each kilowatt-hour of power generated from a Rockville based solar electric system will count toward the challenge goal. The following are some tips and incentives for installing renewable energy systems. Always remember to consult Rockville's Department of Planning and Development Services to ensure that your project complies with zoning and building permit requirements.
Tips for selecting, installing and financing renewable energy systems: