EcoSmart Choice Program3 min read
Many of us would like to be able to determine the source of the power we use to turn on the lights or charge our phones. AMP members and their customers are indicating the desire for greener energy resources and AMP’s EcoSmart Choice program offers the opportunity to do that. The program is a great supplement to members’ renewable generation projects or an option to meet customer needs for members not participating in AMP’s hydro, solar, wind or landfill gas projects.
The EcoSmart Choice program is AMP’s green pricing program, which allows participating municipal electric system customers the option of offsetting all or a portion of their electric usage with renewable resources. This is accomplished through the purchase and retirement of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from eligible generation sources, such as wind, solar, hydroelectric or landfill gas facilities. A REC represents the environmental benefits associated with electricity sourced from renewable facilities. For every one megawatthour (MWh) of electricity that is generated by an eligible renewable facility, one REC is produced. For every REC purchased, one MWh of conventional, non-renewable electricity is offset.
RECs provide customers with the benefits of “green” electricity without the costs of installing their own renewable generation. REC purchases promote growth in the green power marketplace and help to avoid greenhouse gas emissions across the country. As consumers become more concerned with their environmental impact, it has become increasingly important to provide them with green power choices that meet their evolving needs and expectations.
AMP uses RECs that are either generated within member states or verified by Green-e, an independent third-party certification standard. This helps to ensure that RECs are produced by the avowed renewable generation facility.
While many AMP member communities already directly participate in and/or partially own renewable energy projects, EcoSmart Choice enables them to deliver the benefits of renewable energy to their end-use customers, regardless of their power supply portfolio. The program is available to both residential and commercial/industrial customers, and is presently offered by several member utilities, including Bowling Green, Coldwater, Columbus, Cuyahoga Falls, Ephrata, Hudson, Jackson Center, Napoleon, Westerville and Wyandotte.
EcoSmart Choice participants elect to pay an additional base cost of 0.3 cents per kilowatt-hour ($0.003/kWh) or $3.00/MWh on their electric bills to cover the incremental costs of renewable energy. Utility customers can choose to offset 25 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent or 100 percent of their electricity usage with renewable resources. For example, if a customer participates at the 100 percent level and uses 750 kWh in one month, an equal number of RECs is purchased to match that monthly usage and the customer would pay an additional $2.75 ($0.003 X 750) as part of their utility bill that month.
AMP members also have the option to charge a higher rate for participation in the EcoSmart Choice program and use the difference for local environmental or sustainability programs and projects.
For example, a community may choose to charge $0.005/kWh for participation and retain the remaining $0.002/kWh.
As part of the EcoSmart Choice program, AMP returns unused program funds to participating members in the form of sustainability grants at the end of each calendar year. In 2017, more than $200,000 in sustainability grant money was presented to participants in the EcoSmart Choice program.
Participation in the EcoSmart Choice program is free to AMP members; however, the participating community is responsible for covering its own administrative costs. Customers can join or drop out at any time, without penalty. If you believe your community would be interested in the program, please visit the EcoSmart Choice website at www.ecosmartchoice.org. Additional information is available in the EcoSmart Choice section of the Sustainability page on the AMP website at www.amppartners.org.
If you have any questions about the EcoSmart Choice program, please contact Erin Miller, director of energy policy and sustainability, at 614.540.1019 or [email protected].