When you think of “green electricity” the first thing you may imagine is an array of solar panels on a home’s roof. While the energy produced by these panels is “green” as in, it doesn’t generate any greenhouse gases, green electricity is more generally referred to as electric power from renewable sources that is supplied to the main electricity grid.
The “pros” of green electricity:
Subscribing to a service that provides green electricity to the ‘grid’ is one way of lowering your home’s carbon footprint. While it is more expensive than traditional electricity, it is a lot less expensive than installing a set of solar photovoltaic panels (panels that generate electricity) on your rooftop. Further, it is maintenence and monitoring free. It is the easiest and cheapest way of reducing your home’s carbon footprint.
The “cons” of green electricity:
The majority of green electricity currently supplied to the grid in Ontario comes from “low impact hydro” and wind farms. You may look outside on a particularly calm day and wonder why your lights are still on and you have no trouble running the vacuum cleaner; in other words, your power supply is not affected by how windy it is.
When you purchase your electricity from a green supplier, the supplier agrees to supply the same amount of watts to the grid in renewable power as you consume. So, for example, if your household uses 900 kwh of electricity per month, your utility company would supply 900 kwh of electricity from renewable resources per month to the grid, thereby offsetting the amount of electricity you’ve consumed, but not at the exact time you are using it.
Currently, electricity storage is a stumbling block for renewable energy companies. The company or person who develops the most reliable storage method will be the goose with the golden egg.
A final drawback to “green” electricity is that you are still tied to the main power grid. If one of your goals of using renewable energy is energy independence, then you should consider solar panels or a roof top wind turbine.