Saturday, May 31, 2008

Green Energy, or *partly green* energy?

I switched energy providers from BGE to Pepco Energy Services, under the impression I'd be cutting back on CO2 emissions from the energy generation. On closer inspection, I should have gone with the even-higher-priced wind-only source. Why? Because over 97% of the energy source Pepco is brokering comes from combustion sources.

It's my own fault, of course, for not reading the fine print (if it was there), and not clearly understanding the advertising style of listing biomass near the end, when it's most likely the majority, the way that foods are supposed to list ingredients so we can see how much sugar or other junk is there.

The fine print in the information package I received after I signed up shows these energy sources (as supplied between January and June 2007):

  • 72.59% Captured Methane Gas
  • 02.50% Solid Waste
  • 24.91% Wood or other Biomass

All the other sources show 0%, including geothermal, hydroelectric, solar and wind. The Pepco Energy site says:

Green Electricity is generated from renewable resources, which includes hydroelectric plants, solar panels, wind farms and biomass fuels. The generation of Green Electricity produces almost none of the pollutants commonly referred to as "greenhouse gases". These pollutants (such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide) contribute to global warming, smog and acid rain, and can result in damage to the environment.


The fine print online:

We should have gone with:

Pepco Energy Services is proud to offer NewWind™ Energy – electricity that is produced right here in the Mid-Atlantic region by wind farms contracted to Pepco Energy Services. NewWind Energy is pollution free, burns no fossil fuels and creates none of the emissions that are released by the generation of standard electricity.


Because of my mistake, and until I can correct this, our "Green Energy" will be releasing over 767 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour.

It looks like I'll be sending an email to to make a more significant change in our energy consumption impact.


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