How Renewable Energy Credits Help Pennsylvania Harness Wind Energy
Pennsylvania’s a bountiful state—rich in beauty, history, charm, and energy. From Philadelphia, one of our oldest cities, with its history and colonial charm, yet vibrant business and economic hubs, the landscape stretches westward to farmlands, industrial hubs, and of course, small communities buzzing with independent businesses. Local markets and coffee shops, bed and breakfasts, automotive shops, and antique stores are all threaded throughout our wide valleys and up the rugged slopes of the Poconos, the Blue Ridge, and Allegheny Mountains.
Even from its colonial roots, Pennsylvania was a forward-looking Commonwealth. After all, Philadelphia gave birth to Ben Franklin’s first post office as well as Franklin’s Union Fire Company, the template for volunteer fire departments from its founding in 1736 until the Revolutionary War. That’s not to mention two “keystone” agreements of our democracy known as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, both signed at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. Today, Pennsylvania continues to foster innovation in other areas. In particular, Pennsylvania is a major contributor of wind energy. With an eye to the future, many Pennsylvania businesses are now seeking ways to power their facilities and operations with energy generated by the wind.
Wind Energy Powering Pennsylvania
The use of wind energy in Pennsylvania has grown in recent years, as businesses and their customers became more aware of the environmental benefits of renewable power. This increased awareness, combined with the efficiency of wind energy, has spurred Pennsylvania to develop wind power into a sizeable portion of its energy mix. Currently, 27 wind farms across the Commonwealth produce 1,300 megawatts of energy. That’s enough energy to power 350,000 homes. And there’s more wind to be captured. According to a study of potential from the Pennsylvania Wind Working Group, based on data from the U.S. Department of Energy, Pennsylvania has the wind resources to install up to 38,000,000 megawatt-hours, about 30% of the state’s electricity consumption. In addition, Pennsylvania has enough shoreline on Lake Erie to install 5,670 megawatts of offshore wind production. That’s a lot of wind.
However, wind energy is hardly the entire Pennsylvania energy story. Even if all of Pennsylvania’s wind energy were capitalized on, it would sadly not be enough energy for the entire state without importing power from other areas.
At the moment, Pennsylvania still relies to a great extent on electricity produced by nuclear, coal, and natural gas plants. While there are real benefits to the continued use of these energy sources, there are also major drawbacks. Nuclear is inexpensive to produce but potentially dangerous. Catastrophic accidents can—and have—happened. Further, there’s no safe place to dispose of spent nuclear fuel. Coal is also cheap, but its extraction is harmful to the environment, and the greenhouse gases emitted during electricity production contribute to climate change. Natural gas plants also pose environmental concerns. Yes, these sources of energy are good and necessary, but certainly not ideal. No doubt, expanding the use of safer, cleaner, renewable energy sources is the way of the future.
Renewable Energy Credits Give Businesses Options
Whether out of personal preference, a desire to support renewables, or to attract the business of environmentally-minded customers, Pennsylvania business people have sought out ways to ensure that their energy comes from wind. Of course, once energy is generated—by wind, nuclear, coal, or anything else—and sent into the grid, it is electricity, in no way different from any other electricity. To ensure that their operations run solely on wind energy, business owners sometimes consider installing their own wind turbines. However, small-scale turbines typically do not produce enough energy to entirely power a business. And when the wind isn’t blowing, the windmill isn’t making energy. In order to fill in the gaps in supply, a business owner must remain connected to the energy grid. The lack of a single solution combined with the high price of installing and maintaining an onsite windmill leads many to conclude that this option is likely not the most economically sound.
Thankfully, there is another way to ensure that a business runs on wind. While it isn’t possible to physically separate wind energy from coal or nuclear, it is possible to economically separate wind energy from other sources. This is accomplished using what are known as Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). When a business purchases RECs, they ensure that an equal amount of energy from a wind farm or another renewable source has been generated and placed in the grid. Although the renewable electricity produced gets blended with all the state’s other electricity, businesses can help offset the amount of non-renewable energy. It’s a great idea for reducing the proliferation of non-renewables.
Renewable Energy Credits offer Pennsylvania businesses and wind farms the best of both worlds. Businesses—and their customers—can rest assured knowing they are supporting renewable energy development. Wind farms can continue producing energy, knowing there is ongoing demand for their services. Together, we can create a brighter, cleaner future.
At Liberty Power, we believe in helping promote clean, green energy. That’s why we offer Renewable Energy Credits to our business customers in Pennsylvania. Visit our Liberty Green page to learn more about renewable energy and request a quote today.