Challengicious Monday: Support Renewable Energy

>> Monday, May 17, 2010

Mondays are challengicious at The Conscious Shopper. Here's your final energy-related challenge:

Support Renewable Energy

This is the final challenge in the Energize challenges, and like the last one, it's Marathon Runner only. In most of the energy-related challenges, you invest money to save money. This challenge also pays you back...but not with money. By supporting renewables, you help create a sustainable future with less damage to the environment and a secure source of energy.

Renewable energy sources include:
  • solar
  • wind
  • tidal
  • geothermal
  • biofuels
  • hydroelectric
Each of these sources has its downsides, but the overall net benefit of using renewables far outweighs the negatives when compared to using fossil fuels.

Three Ways to Support Renewable Energy
  1. The easiest way to support renewable energy is through your power company. Typically, you'll pay a premium on your regular energy bill supporting renewable energy and the development of renewable technology. To find out if your power company has a green power program, search this chart from the Department of Energy.
  2. If you're lucky to live in a few select states (Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and the District of Columbia), you may be able to switch to a green electricity provider. Check out this chart from the Department of Energy for more information.
  3. If neither of these options work for you, you can buy a Renewable Energy Certificate to support the production and development of renewable energy.
This is a Marathon Runner only challenge because I personally think that improving the energy efficiency of your home is a much better first step than turning straight to renewables. If you can reduce your energy needs by 30%, that's 30% less renewable energy that we need to produce. Plus, the technology for energy efficiency already exists while we're still working on improving the technology of renewables.

When you've gone as far as you can on the other challenges, that's when it's time to turn to renewable energy. I pay an extra $4 to NC Green Power every month - a small amount, yes, but I think every little bit counts. If you can afford more, please do!

Will you take the challenge?

You have hereby been challenged to go green in a year without going broke! Check out the last challenge, or view the whole list of Challengicious Mondays. Sign up for my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, and join my "Go Green without Going Broke" group on Facebook!


abbie May 18, 2010 at 9:16 AM  

You know, my dream home has solar panels on top. :) But that dream home is a little far away yet. I grew up in a Solar home with all the inconveniences, like less than 50 degree ambient temperature in the winter before our wood stove and the sun light could warm the house. But it really made me not like AC in the summer, and it also made me realize that there are alternative energy sources. My kids think central air is normal.

Does this count as participating? My husband works in renewable energy lending. That is, he works for a small bank here in northern VA that lends to companies constructing and leasing renewable energy facilities. He was on the team that helped fund the Denver Airport solar panel project, one of the largest installations in the country. Their 7.5 acre 9,200 panel field generates 50% of the power needed to run the airport's people-mover tram.
This is an interesting, and I believe underutilized business. Housing cooperatives and charter schools, as well as big businesses like Macys are also constructing solar installations on their properties to offset their energy bills. The finances are beyond me, but I hope that tax incentives and big business will raise awareness and business opportunities for the renewable energy industry.

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