Thursday, October 20, 2005

QUICK GREEN: You Can Stop Using Coal

This afternoon, stop buying electricity generated by coal, natural gas, or (shudder) nuclear fuel.

Even if you aren't able to get solar cells up on the roof this week, your electricity provider may be willing to sell you power generated by wind, solar, and small-scale hydro.

California power companies are required to have a certain amount of "green" power in their electricity mix. Accordingly, most are willing to charge you a little extra and purchase this good electricity on your behalf.

Oddly, the power usually comes in 200 kilowatt hour (kWh) blocks for about $5.00, or $0.025 per kWh. Some providers allow a 100% option that does not require "blocks" where all of your electricity is green. A typical Pasadena home uses between 800-1200 kWh per month, averaged over the year. So the extra monthly could be $20 - $30 per month. A little much, perhaps, if your budget is stretched, but an option!

Most importantly NO unacceptable fuel has been used to power your home (or electric lawnmower)!

Of course, we have solar cells on our roof, and expect to have close to a zero electric bill at the end of the year. But we have signed up for Green Power with the City of Pasadena, so if we use a little more than we produce, we are still fossil fuel free for electricity.

Go here for this bumpersticker

Solar Cells: Why Doesn't Everybody Do This?! Wow!


Siel said...

LA DWP totally does this. We've switched over to greener services -- unbeknownst to my roomates (I get all the bills ;)

It's really not much more expensive. And as a sunny SoCal gal, I have to sau that we Angelenos, with the solar and wind benefits of our habitat, really owe it to ourselves to take advangate --

After all, the more of us who join, the cheaper it'll be for all of us :)

WattHead said...

I do 100% wind power through my local utility in Oregon. The extra cost of wind is an added incentive to look for ways to cut down your energy use in the first place. Energy conservation and efficiency is easy and will save you money on your electricity bills (with or without green power premiums). My girlfriend and I have our usage in our apartment down to about 250 kWh/month (without heat which we cannot control in individual apartments unfortunately, we rarely used our heat all year in our last apartment). That cuts the extra cost of our 100% wind power down to only about $5.00/month, or a measly $2.50 per person.

Interestingly, as natural gas prices (and extended drought in the hydro-driven Northwest) drive regular electricity prices up, wind power becomes more and more economical as it has a fixed operating cost. Check out this story about how wind power customers are actually paying LESS than regular energy mix customers in Colorado! Is this a tase of the future?

WattHead said...

Oh, and love the bumper sticker! Just bought a magnetic one for the fridge.

Roger, Gone Green said...

Great point about the relatively stable cost of renewables versus conventional power.

The savings factor associated with being aware of your usage is pretty amazing. When we got our solar cells we spent a lot of time monitoring our usage, and as a consequence used a lot less.

I think that every electricity rate payer should have a small LED readout inside the dwelling, showing current rate of usage and total for the billing period. I bet you'd see a big drop in usage!

In any case, this "awareness" phenomenon is similar to what happens in the "Good" kind of Municipal recycling we talked about earlier this month.

Again, Thanks for the comments!


P.S. The bumperstickers are from a third party, and I get nothing out of it but the satisfaction o' spreadin' the word. I appreciate hearin' about your efforts (and purchase).

Box Chick said...


I just wanted to say your blog is great and throw some information your
way. I work with a company that sells USED cardboard boxes.It keeps
trees from being cut down and keeps waste piles down.For more info,visit
our website at


Rhonda said...

Hey Box Chick,

I just checked out that website you mentioned:

I placed an order and received it the next day. It was cool and in a way I felt good about this purchase because I saved myself money but also saved energy from being used in a plant by recycling these used boxes.

Before I placed the order, I wanted to make sure they're credible. Turns out they're extremely earth-friendly but cheap at the same time.

Go Green! Check it out.