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Growth of Renewable Energy Poised to Benefit Economically Distressed Rust Belt States

- Friday, June 24, 2011

One of the more interesting – if not downright ironic – twists in the emergence of renewable energy is the fact that the states who may be best-positioned to benefit from them – Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and their “Rust Belt” neighbors – are also states reliant on fossil fuel industries.

These states are well-positioned because of one simple word: jobs.  These states have been shedding jobs for years, and the promise of solar panel or wind turbine plants can help to reverse the decline.  Better yet, many of the aspiring applicants are uniquely qualified – more often than not, they have experience in the manufacturing sector, be it in auto plants or other heavy equipment industries.

Then, of course, are the simple economics of greater energy choice.  Expanding markets in these states – take Ohio energy deregulation, for example – are opening up the playing field for providers of renewable energy while forcing existing utilities into more competitive pricing.

Alternative Energy In Pennsylvania

- Wednesday, June 22, 2011

With energy deregulation comes lots of energy choices. In  pa, energy choice  includes alternative energy. The Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act (AEPS) would require that each year a percentage of electricity sold to retail customers in Pennsylvania is derived from alternative energy. These include solar, wind, low-impact hydropower or geothermal. Suppliers would need to promote AECs (Alternative Energy Credits). AECs are created when an alternative energy facility produces 1000 kilowatts of electricity.

Now being able to have choices in their search for a competitive energy supplier in their area, many residents are making sure the energy supplier they hire, is taking advantage of AECs. This helps to keep the demand for alternative energy up and consumers are happy to be doing their part for a cleaner environment. Any energy company you are considering will be able to let you know what percentage of renewable resources is part of the energy they generate

More and More Companies are Investing in Renewable Energy to Reduce Electricity Rates

- Monday, June 20, 2011

More often than not, the promise of renewable energy is seen through the lens of the homeowner.  By tapping into solar or wind energy, for example, homeowners – with the help of energy brokers – can offset electricity costs.

Yet this potential is also being tapped by private companies who, as always, are looking for ways to lower business electricity rates.

Take AT&T for example.  Recently it installed and activated a 296-kW rooftop solar power panel at its Trade Street site in San Diego, California. 

The system will create over 400,000 kWh of energy in its first year alone, and over the course of two decades, the company predicts it will offset close to 10 million pounds of CO2 emissions.

Most importantly, perhaps, it will positively affect the bottom line.  In fact, given the inherent cost savings potential, the company named renewable energy as a key strategic driver in its 2008 “Citizenship and Sustainability Report.”

Home Energy Brokering a Win-Win for Utilities and Consumers Alike

- Monday, June 13, 2011

A common theme here at the EnergyTel blog is around how the push for renewable energy is giving homeowners greater energy choice.

In some instances, the states and Federal governments make it easy for consumers to shop around amongst utilities to help lower energy costs.  In other instances – and more often than not, sadly – it is far more difficult for homeowners to find the best rate. 

Unlike buying a car or a new refrigerator, shopping around for lower energy prices is a process fraught with red tape, fine print, legalese, and complex “utility”-speak that will leave even the most savvy shopper frustrated.

This is where we come in.  As experts in the utility field we act as a broker between you and the energy providers to get the best deal possible.  It’s a win-win for both parties: utilities reluctant to shell out more advertising dollars attain more customers, while homeowners lower energy costs.

It’s a model employed in other sectors of the economy, and as Maryland and Ohio energy deregulation continues to unfold, homeowners are poised to come out the winners.


Solar Energy Increasingly within Reach for American Homeowners

- Wednesday, June 08, 2011

One of the silver linings in an era of rising gas prices is that average Americans are not powerless in our ongoing efforts to reduce energy costs.

Thanks to a generous government tax credit, we can purchase a hybrid vehicle and laugh off $4 a gallon gas.

We can also install our own solar energy systems. This wasn’t necessarily the case 10 years ago, but the technology has dramatically improved and equipment prices have gone down, making putting this additional energy source within reach.

And if homeowners feel a bit reluctant to make such an investment, state governments are stepping in to help.

The California Public Utilities Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes program, for example, also known as SASH, is a new program that installs solar panels on low-income homes.

By providing solar power to 7,000 homes by 2016, the program aims to lower each household’s electricity bill by as much as 75 percent.

Cities Looking to help Consumers Lower Energy Costs with Renewable Energy

- Monday, June 06, 2011

The confluence of many trends, including the increased viability of renewable energy, greater energy deregulation, and the emergence of natural gas, are providing hopeful signs to consumers looking to lower their energy bills.

Now cities and municipalities want to get in on the act.

In a recent article in the New York Observer, we learned that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pushing for additional solar panels and green loans for New York City.

Like other cities, New York over-taxes its grid in the summer, as evidenced by recent brownouts across the past few years.

To help lighten the burden, the Mayor is planning to build solar panels in city landfills, and – in a potential boon to citizens – create a non-profit to help building owners retro-fit their property to efficiently make green energy upgrades.

This later development is particularly important. New York City’s building codes are antiquated and in many instances, the actually infrastructure cannot sustain, for example, a battery of solar panels on the roof.

By making it easier to “green-ify” these buildings, these reduced energy costs will trickle down to tenants

Whether "On" or "Off" the Grid, Greater Energy Choice is Good News for American Homeowners

- Friday, June 03, 2011

It would be the understatement of the year to say that energy policy in Washington is politically-charged.

With so many lobbyists flexing their financial muscle, and multiple interests from the fossil fuel industry and renewable energy sector jockeying for position, it is no surprise the Administration has had difficulty crafting a comprehensive energy bill.

But this hasn’t stopped intrepid homeowners looking to reduce energy costs while minimizing their carbon footprint.

A recent article in the Christian Science Monitor shows how more and more Americans – approximately three-quarters of a million, in fact – are completely subsisting on sustainable energy like wind and solar power. Many of these homeowners, in fact, are completely disconnected from utility grids.

While such a step-up may be logistically out of reach for most Americans, a perfect storm of market forces, such as cheaper, more available renewable energy sources and the growing stability of natural gas are aligning to help homeowners effectively reduce their utility bills.

"Green" Homes Found to Have Higher Resale Values Than Traditional Properties

- Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The benefits of affordable renewable energy are legion: less fossil fuels, greater energy choice, and lower utility bills. Now homeowners have another reason to “go green:” studies show that “green homes” sell faster and at a higher price than traditional homes.

A 2010 study conducted in the outlying Seattle area found that “green homes” – homes with solar panels, energy efficient appliances, or other renewable energy sources – sold 24 percent faster and for 5-10 percent more than regular properties.

And resale appreciation of green homes can range up to 16 percent vs. the two percent depreciation rate for the non-green home.

Now, one could argue that since the homes were in Seattle, the demographic is generally more educated and affluent; as a result, homeowners are more included to make these changes, while would-be buyers are more drawn to this “green” component.

Yet even if true, it doesn’t change the fact that such trends can be replicated in other, demographically similar areas like San Francisco, Atlanta, and Boston

Getting Fossil Fuel Employees on Board with Renewable Energy Future

- Friday, May 27, 2011

The confluence of various developments like electricity deregulation, the emergence of renewable energy as a viable alternative to fossil fuels, and recent unrest in the Mideast have created some unlikely allies.

For example, an effort is on the way for employees in the fossil fuel industry to buy-in to a greener energy future. On the surface, these workers should be add odds with this proposition: greener energy sources mean less fossil fuels, which means less jobs in employment-hungry states like West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. For starters, fossil fuels are a finite resource; the day of reckoning is inevitable. And more than any other sector of the US labor market, existing workers in the fossil fuel industries are well-positioned to be re-trained for jobs in the renewable energy sector, be it wind turbine or solar panel installation. And the construction of such renewable energy infrastructure can bring jobs to these economically depressed areas.

So the transition can be gradual and relatively painless, with irrefutably positive outcomes like a reduction in our reliance on foreign oil and greater energy choice for consumers.

Harnessing the Wind and Saving Water

- Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wind power is a tremendous natural resource. It is sustainable, renewable and helps many industries reduce energy costs each month. What most folks don’t realize is that with the use of wind power as a viable energy choice, we can use less water than any other power source.

Fresh water is one of our most valuable resources and its importance cannot be stressed enough. It is in the best interest of future generations that freshwater resources are kept safe. Taking into account water usage is a huge part of determining which power sources will be used in the coming decades. With water deficiency a huge concern in many parts of the world, it is feared that with the earth’s climate change, it is only going to become an even bigger problem. Wind power does not use any water and this savings can be used for human consumption and the world’s farming industries.

Harnessing the wind also provides a viable alternative for cutting back on the use of CO2. For these reasons, wind energy is fast becoming a responsible and popular solution!

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