How green is your green energy?

By Morgan Pitts 6/27/2019

Pennsylvania is one of 17 states where consumers can choose who they buy electricity from and how that electricity is generated. Power is still delivered by local utilities like PECO or PPL. But consumers can choose clean, renewable sources of electricity, both to reduce their carbon footprint and to encourage increased investment in the rapidly expanding green economy.

Maybe you’ve already chosen to purchase clean electricity – and if so, we hope you’re already getting 100% wind and solar power as an Energy Co-op member.

But, if you’re buying renewable electricity from another supplier, do you know how green your green energy is? Or what percentage of your clean energy is sourced from truly renewable resources? Do you know whether your electricity supplier also sells a lot more fossil-fuel generated electricity? Or whether your green dollars wind up supporting a company that owns and sells much more “brown” power than clean energy?

In Philadelphia, there are over 25 different renewable electricity suppliers to choose from, many of which offer multiple plans. This can be overwhelming for consumers who are interested in doing the right thing. But because the details are lost in the fine print, it’s hard to distinguish among clean electricity suppliers and plans. And those differences can be significant!

For example, what percentage of the clean electricity you buy is sourced from alternative sources that are not renewable?

Like many other states, Pennsylvania encourages the development of renewable energy. But, did you know that under the state’s laws, waste coal is considered a form of alternative energy? For electricity consumers focused on climate and environmental issues, waste coal is probably not what they want to use to power their homes. But if a supplier in Pennsylvania isn’t specific about where they’re getting their alternative energy, you could inadvertently be buying waste coal energy.

At The Energy Co-op, we only offer electricity from wind and solar projects.

But even if you can buy 100% renewable electricity from another supplier, what percentage of electricity sold by your supplier is renewable? What happens to your clean energy dollars?

The fact is, many clean electricity suppliers are large, fossil-fuel generators in disguise. Don’t be fooled by words like “green” in their corporate names. Look behind the curtain and you may find a vertically integrated, multinational corporate parent or affiliate that generates over 50 times as much electricity from fossil fuels as from wind or solar. Sure, those companies own renewable facilities too. But if they mostly own and operate fossil-fueled power plants, or are investing in natural gas-fired plants or other fossil fuel powered projects, how many of your green dollars wind up invested in that kind of facility?

At The Energy Co-op, we only offer electricity from wind and solar projects.

So, all of our members’ electricity dollars support development of and investment in renewable resources, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and nationwide. And clean energy dollars mean clean energy jobs—over 9,000 in the Commonwealth so far.

Almost all of the clean energy dollars you spend as a member of The Energy Co-op stay local. We don’t have shareholders. We don’t even have customers. We have members. We are a nonprofit cooperative, which means that instead of paying dividends to investors, any surplus we generate is reinvested in our education, outreach, and community partnerships.

And, if you choose The Energy Co-op’s Pennsylvania-only renewable electricity plan, the clean energy powering your home or business is generated right here in the state, and your energy dollars help support clean energy investment and jobs in communities throughout the Commonwealth.

So, if you’re not already a member, join us at The Energy Co-op as we work to build a better, more sustainable Pennsylvania. Power your home or business with 100% wind and solar electricity today.