To help you navigate the renewable energy jungle
Two-thirds of Americans want to “prioritize clean energy sources,” the Pew Research Center reports. But for energy consumers, deciphering the jargon of electricity generation can be disempowering.
The federal Department of Energy website used to offer helpful guidance on green power choices. No more. Look to the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) website for advice on choosing an electricity supplier and you’ll find just 88 words.
Maine could offer a website like the “Energy Switch” one in Massachusetts, where consumers can review a list of electricity suppliers that specifies percentage of renewable energy provided and whether that power comes from new projects like wind. That’s a key distinction: not all renewable power is equal in terms of pollution and climate change. Most of the power marketed as green and renewable here – including the Maine Green Power Program sponsored by the Maine PUC – relies predominantly on power generated from aging biomass plants or hydropower dams.
These suppliers do not expand clean energy markets with new projects that replace oil- and coal-burning sources. And there’s growing scientific controversy over whether biomass even qualifies as carbon-neutral, as reported recently by Yale’s e360.
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