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Affordable Renewable Energy for Everyone

Have you ever wanted to power your home or office with renewable energy, but thought it was too expensive? Or you didn't want to deal with installing and maintaining equipment?

Now there is a way that everyone can use solar, wind, and other renewable energies, at a fraction of the cost. Even renters can power their homes with renewable energy.

Renewable energy certificates (aka green tags, green energy certificates, or tradable renewable certificates) make it easy and inexpensive for anyone to reduce or eliminate the environmental impact of their electricity use.

Each certificate represents the delivery of a specific amount of renewable power (usually one megawatt-hour) into a regional or national energy "grid." This replaces the non-renewable fossil fuels that would have otherwise been used with non-polluting energy from solar, wind, biomass, and other renewable sources.

While the renewable energy you pay for may not flow through the wires in your own home, the resulting overall benefit to the environment is the same as it would be if you installed solar panels or wind turbines directly on your own property.

The certificates are purchased in addition to paying your regular energy bill. So it doesn't cost less than standard electricity, but it's a small premium to pay to keep toxic pollutants produced by the burning of fossil fuels out of the environment. And it supports the market for renewable energy as a whole, which ultimately will bring the price down for renewable energy and make it more generally available.

These certificates are available on the internet, but not widely known. Green energy certificates are currently being marketed to big businesses that use a lot of energy and can make a big impact with their purchase, but anyone can buy them.

I recently purchased renewable energy certificates to offset the electricty I use in my own home and home office. Though my purchase is only 15 MWh per year for my 1500 square foot house, every little bit helps establish the market for renewable energy. It prevents the emissions of 20,700 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to planting 1,500 trees or removing 2 cars from the road for one year. I pay only $40 a month (in addition to my regular energy bill) for solar, and other renewables cost even less.

For more information on renewable energy certificates, including a list of websites that offer them, visit http://www.debraslist.com/energy/greenenergycert.html.

About the Author

The Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership has recognized consumer advocate Debra Lynn Dadd for her purchase of 100% solar renewable energy certificates for her Florida home office. She is the author of Home Safe Home (Tarcher/Penguin), publishes free email newsletters, and has posted links to 1000s of green products at www.debraslist.com.



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