FAQs

What is Renewable Energy?

Renewable Energy is energy created from resources that are regenerative - or renewable - meaning they cannot be depleted. Examples of renewable energy include wind, solar and water power. These resources are safe for our environment and produce energy without the harmful pollutants and emissions associated with fossil-fuels. Community Energy offers a variety of renewable energy products, with a strong focus on solar and wind power, and the development of new wind and solar farm projects across the nation.

 

Why Does Renewable Energy Cost More?

It costs more for two reasons. First, the environmental and human health costs of conventional power generation (such as acid rain and air pollution) are not fully reflected in electricity's market price. That makes the conventional generation seem cheaper than it really is. And the value of clean energy is therefore not recognized by our pricing system. In the case of wind energy, for example, virtually all of the pollution and waste resulting from fossil and nuclear generation is eliminated.

The second reason is that although most renewable resources are free, the technologies used to convert the wind or the sun to electricity, for example, are not. Because renewable energy technologies are younger, and the industries are much smaller than traditional energy industries, they have not had the opportunity to enjoy the economies of scale and prolonged learning curve that benefit today's more established technologies. But times are changing. The cost of wind energy, for example, has dropped 80% since 1980 and the decline continues as the wind energy industry matures.

Sourced from AWEA www.awea.org.

 

What is a Renewable Energy Credit?

Renewable energy credits (RECs), also known as green certificates, green tags, or tradable renewable certificates, represent the environmental and economic value of electricity produced from clean, renewable, emission-free energy resources that are safe for our environment and will never be depleted. RECs hold real and quantifiable economic value and act like a form of currency that allows the environmental attributes of renewable energy generation to be separated from the electricity commodity and to be sold as a separate product.

Renewable Energy Credits enable consumers all across the country to support renewable energy generation; RECs contribute to the growth of the renewable energy sector, and with consumer support will continue to help make renewable energy even more cost competitive.

You can buy RECs from Community Energy whether or not you have access to green power through your local utility or a competitive electricity marketer. And you can purchase RECs without having to switch electricity suppliers.

For more information, visit www.awea.org, or www.eere.energy.gov/greenpower.

 

How does purchasing RECs help to build new wind farms?

The REC revenue stream is a vital piece of financing in building new wind farms. Our customers and partners' commitments to renewable energy development in the form of voluntary REC purchases has enhanced the viability of new wind power projects, and demonstrated the demand necessary to seek out and build new projects. In all eight projects that CEI and Iberdrola Renewables have developed or helped to finance with REC marketing efforts, REC revenue streams were explicitly valued (based on voluntary market customer contracts or market projections) and vital to project feasibility. As the industry continues to evolve, reliable REC revenue streams will be even more critical to flipping the economics of wind energy in the positive direction.

What is the Green-e Energy certification?

Green-e Energy is the nation's leading independent certification and verification program for renewable energy. The Green-e Energy logo identifies superior, certified renewable energy options, and is used by businesses to communicate the purchase and/or generation of certified renewable energy. The program is administered by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions in San Francisco. More information is available at www.green-e.org.

 

What is Water Energy?

Water Energy - or hydro energy - is one of the oldest sources of energy. Small-hydro energy meets renewable energy standards by having minimal negative environmental impacts. (Comparatively, large-scale hydro sources often involve large dams that may have serious consequences on the surrounding environment.) Small-hydro systems do not require damming; these systems capture the energy in flowing water and convert it into usable electricity.