b ag FAQ 705

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Why does Alameda Municipal Power offer a voluntary renewable energy program?

Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) is responding to the desires of its customers to purchase renewable energy above and beyond the amount AMP purchases for all customers, the importance of developing the regional clean energy economy, and AMP’s commitment to expanding the use of renewable resources.


Do other utilities offer voluntary renewable energy programs? 

Yes. Over 850 utilities offer a renewable energy option similar to Alameda Green. 


What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is energy from sources that replenish themselves without depleting the Earth's resources. Renewable resources are abundant and cause little, if any, environmental damage. Examples of renewable energy sources include:

  • Wind
  • Solar
  • Landfill and agricultural waste (biomass)
  • Heat of the earth (geothermal)
  • Water (low-impact hydroelectric facilities)
  • Wave or tidal (ocean power)

To learn more about renewable energy, visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).


What types of renewable energy are supported by Alameda Green?

Alameda Green supports wind and solar energy. Alameda Green’s renewable energy supply is 5% solar from California and 95% wind from western states. Alameda Green will provide customers with a historic Product Content Label annually containing specific information about the supply sources.


If I choose Alameda Green, will I actually receive electricity from renewable energy generation sources? 

Because of the way that power grids work, electricity from a specific facility or source generally does not flow directly to a specific customer's home. However, when you enroll in Alameda Green, we guarantee  that renewable energy in the exact amount of your electricity use is generated and delivered to Alameda’s electricity grid (Western Electricity Coordinating Council region).

The renewable energy you purchase cannot be used by utilities to meet any Renewable Energy Portfolio mandates. Your participation in Alameda Green therefore creates additional demand for renewable energy beyond that required by the government, encouraging further development of green power projects.

To learn more about how the electric grid works, visit the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s website.


Where will the renewable energy I am supporting through Alameda Green be located?

Alameda Green's renewable energy supply is sourced from 5% solar from California and 95% wind from western states.  Alameda Green will provide customers with a historic Product Content Label annually (in the Spring) containing specific information about the supply sources from the previous year.


Do wind turbines harm birds? 

Today’s new wind turbines do not pose a high risk to birds or any other wildlife. Newer technologies selected to avoid known migration patterns and reduce contact with endangered birds. Also, new turbines are built in such a way to make it difficult for birds to use them for nesting. For more information on this issue...

HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE

How does my participation in Alameda Green help reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

The more renewable energy we support, the less we will have to burn coal and other nonrenewable fuels that emit greenhouse gas emissions to generate electricity. 


How do I enroll?

Alameda Green is a voluntary program available to all Alameda Municipal Power customers. Enrollment is simple, voluntary and you may cancel at any time. 

Click here to find your enrollment options…


How can I reduce my monthly electric bill and still participate in the program?
 

An easy way to reduce costs is to reduce the amount of energy you use. For example, if you installed compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs or Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs in all of your most frequently used light fixtures, you would reduce the amount of electricity you use, reducing your bill. That would also lower your cost for Alameda Green. In fact, if you conserve enough energy at the same time you purchase Alameda Green, your overall electric bill might not increase at all. You will benefit and so will the environment! 

Find ways that you can reduce your impact on the U.S. Department of Energy and Alameda Municipal Power websites.

Alameda Municipal Power has many programs and services available to help you determine and reduce your energy use.  Find ways that you can reduce your impact on the U.S. Department of Energy and Alameda Municipal Power websites.


Will the power to my home be dependent upon the wind blowing?
 

No. Your power will continue to be uninterrupted even when the wind isn’t blowing, because you are  connected to the regional electricity system. The power that travels through the network of lines and wires that bring electricity to your home or business comes from a variety of generating sources.


What if I wish to stop participating in Alameda Green?

No problem. You can cancel at any time and your next bill will reflect the change. Just call (510) 748-3900.


ALAMEDA GREEN FOR BUSINESSES

Why should my business purchase Alameda Green? 

Choosing renewable energy offers a number of benefits to your business. Choosing Alameda Green will help your business:

  • Reduce your business' carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electricity use

  • Be a leader in your community and industry

  • Generate customer loyalty and employee pride

  • Create positive publicity and earn recognition benefits

  • Differentiate your company from the competition

  • Connect with and market to environmentally conscience customers

We encourage businesses to consider joining the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership.  Purchases of Alameda Green qualify as an eligible supply for that program, as well as for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification program.  


Is Alameda Green eligible for LEED points?

Yes. All Alameda Green renewable energy is Green-e Energy Certified and eligible for green power points under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.


GREEN-e CERTIFIED®

How do I know I am getting what I pay for? 

Alameda Green is a Green-e Energy Certified® program. Green-e Energy was established by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions to provide information and an objective standard for consumers to compare renewable energy options and to verify that consumers get what they pay for.

When you see the Green-e Energy logo, it means:

  • The renewable energy option contains only new renewable resources.
  • The renewable sources of energy supplying the renewable energy option are independently verified by Green-e Energy, operated by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions.
  • The purchaser of a Green-e Energy Certified renewable energy certificate is the sole "owner" of the environmental attributes of a specific megawatt hour (MWh) of energy added to the grid. Independent verification ensures that no MWh are double-counted.
  • The company offering the certified renewable energy option agrees to abide by the Green-e Energy Code of Conduct and Customer Disclosure Requirements governing its ethical treatment of customers.

For more information on Green-e Energy certification requirements, call 888.63.GREEN or go to www.green-e.org.


MEASURING ENERGY USE

What is a kilowatt-hour (kWh)?

The kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a unit of electricity. In technical terms, a kilowatt-hour is a unit of energy equal to 1000 watts of electricity delivered over one hour of time.  Alameda Municipal Power meters your monthly electricity use as measured in kWh to determine the amount of renewable energy you purchase on a monthly basis. 

Example: If you use 400 kWh in the month of March, and participate in Alameda Green, you will support renewable energy equal to 400 kWh for the month of March.


How much electricity does the average home in Alameda consume?

The average home in Alameda consumes approximately 400 kWh of electricity per month, or 4,800 kWh per year.  That is less than half of the national average of 958 kWh per month*!

*Source: US Energy Information Administration


GREENHOUSE GASES

What are greenhouse gases?

Greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. The primary greenhouse gases in  the atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. To learn more about greenhouse gases, please visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Site.


What are greenhouse gas emissions?

Greenhouse gas emissions are both man made and naturally occurring. The greenhouse gases listed below are the main greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere because of human activities. During the past 20 years, about three-quarters of human-made carbon dioxide emissions were from burning fossil fuels*. In 2009, greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation accounted for the largest portion (33 percent) of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions†.

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
  • Fluorinated Gases

Wind and solar power produce no greenhouse gas emissions.

*Source: Energy Information Administration Brochure

†Source: Environmental Protection Agency, Executive Summary of the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2009


RENEWABLE ENERGY PURCHASING PROCESS

How does Alameda Municipal Power purchase renewable energy for the Alameda Green program?

When you sign up for Alameda Green, we guarantee that renewable energy is purchased to match your kilowatt-hour electricity use in the form of renewable energy certificates (RECs). RECs are one way the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend procuring renewable energy. To learn more about RECs, visit the EPA's website.


What is a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC)?
 

Renewable energy certificates (RECs) are proof that 1,000 kilowatt-hours or 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable energy was generated and delivered to the regional power pool. RECs represent the environmental, or green, attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects. RECs are sold separately from the electricity commodity.

For every unit of renewable energy generated and delivered to the regional power pool, an equivalent amount of RECs are created representing a tracking mechanism to ensure that no two customers pay for the same unit of renewable energy generation. The more RECs that are sold, the more demand is created for renewable power. As renewable facilities sell out their RECs, demand shifts to bring more renewable energy sources on-line.

New renewable energy sources are being constructed across the United States to meet the demand created for renewable energy. Your purchase of RECs benefits the environment by encouraging greater renewable energy generation and displacing non-renewable generation from the electricity system. To learn more about RECs, please visit the EPA's website.


How do RECs Help Renewable Energy?

How are environmental equivalencies calculated?

The environmental equivalencies you see throughout the Alameda Green website are calculated using methodologies developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You can learn more about this methodology by visiting the Calculations and References page on their website.

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