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Energy Providers and Utilities Look to Renewable Energy as New Revenue Stream

- Thursday, April 21, 2011

More and more, alliances are is being struck between green energy proponents and energy providers. For example, providers in Arizona are offering to front the money for homeowners to install solar energy systems. Under the plan, they are repaid by including costs in customer bills.

Ultimately, such arrangements are in the financial best interests for these providers. For starters, its becoming increasingly cost prohibitive to construct plans or purchase gas contracts. Increased consumer energy demand, however, mandates the need for increased supply (e.g., the plant construction and/or contract purchasing.)  Citing these aforementioned costs, however, energy providers are reluctant to move forward, particularly in this economic climate. Simply put, the profit margins can be too thin.

Hence, the irony: renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, can not only benefit homeowners, but can provide a new – and comparatively lower-overhead revenue stream for energy providers, who can simply optimizing or build upon existing infrastructure.

Renewable Energy Credits

- Tuesday, April 19, 2011

With more alternative energy choices and more states offering energy deregulation, more and more businesses are seeing a reduction in energy costs. They are also capitalizing on RECs.

RECs or Renewable Energy Credits (sometimes referred to as a “greentag”) are government issued certificates given to a power company that is employing environmentally safe or alternative energy methods to produce electricity. These RECs can be traded or sold as an incentive to companies, which produce an alternative power. Businesses, in their efforts to support an alternative energy choice can take advantage of these RECs regardless of the source of their power.

There are many sources of alternative energy: wind, solar, geothermal, bio-diesel, to name a few. If a company uses these sources in a state that participates in the Renewable Energy Credits program, the company will be offered one credit for a certain quantity of energy that is produced. The credit is given a number, and the power is delivered into the grid. The company can then offer this credit for sale.

If a business purchases these RECs they can are supporting green energy. In an area where alternative power is not offered directly this is a great way for companies to have an impact on the environment. By supporting green energy in this way, consumers and businesses alike are also showing there is a demand. The more credits that are purchased the more companies can build more plants, wind farms and other renewable energy facilities and hasten production with the funds raised through the motivating program of RECs.

The Long-Term Consequances of Eliminating Green Energy Projects

- Thursday, April 14, 2011

Environmentalists are becoming increasingly alarmed that the next victim of budget hawks will be green energy initiatives.

Proponents looking to slash both state and Federal budgets in the short-term find this approach attractive. For starters, ambitious green energy projects require expensive upfront costs, such as the construction of solar panel parks or the upgrading of infrastructure.

Many projects of this nature are in the pipeline across the country; by immediately canceling them, states may be poised to save millions of dollars.

Of course, opponents wisely note that such an approach is short-sighted. Green energy project hold tremendous potential to not only help Americans wean themselves off foreign oil, but provide additional energy choice for consumers, lower utility bills, and reduce pollution generated from fossil fuel emissions.

Most importantly, such efforts can provide much-needed jobs and spur economic development in struggling communities. In fact, with the proper level of funding, states and companies alike can provide critical job training for laid off manufacturing workers.

Energy Providers and Utilities Look to Renewable Energy as New Revenue Stream

- Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More and more, alliances are is being struck between green energy proponents and energy providers. For example, providers in Arizona are offering to front the money for homeowners to install solar energy systems. Under the plan, they are repaid by including costs in customer bills.

Ultimately, such arrangements are in the financial best interests for these providers. For starters, its becoming increasingly cost prohibitive to construct plans or purchase gas contracts. Increased consumer energy demand, however, mandates the need for increased supply (e.g., the plant construction and/or contract purchasing.)  Citing these aforementioned costs, however, energy providers are reluctant to move forward, particularly in this economic climate. Simply put, the profit margins can be too thin.

Hence, the irony: renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, can not only benefit homeowners, but can provide a new – and comparatively lower-overhead revenue stream for energy providers, who can simply optimizing or build upon existing infrastructure

Reduce Energy Costs by Switching Off Appliances

- Thursday, April 07, 2011

Standby power, as it is called, is the electric power that is consumed by our appliances when they have been switched off or are in standby mode. The electricity that leaks out can be raising your energy cost.

Also called phantom power loads, this electricity is responsible for much wasted energy. From phone charges, laptops, video game consoles, microwave ovens, toaster ovens and DVD players, if you can see the little red or green light still on when you shut off the appliance, energy is being consumed. And while the amount of power your one little device is drawing out may not seem significant, all you have to do is imagine each household in the US with some manner of these lights on, and you can see that this is a lot of wasted energy.

It has been estimated that you can save as much as 10% simply by unplugging these appliances that you are not using. This is really good news!

It has also been stated that globally, standby power is estimated to be accountable for about 1% of the carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide contributes to the green house effect that is responsible for global warming. If we could all work together to eliminate that 1%, while saving ourselves some money, we would all be working to put our planet first!

Solar Power to Cost as much as Power from Electrical Grid by 2015, According to White House

- Thursday, March 31, 2011

By 2015, the cost of solar power will be the same as the cost of power from the electrical grid, according to a new report by the federal government that studies the impact of investments made by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The report lists a series of energy-related projects funded by the Recovery Act, such as the largest photovoltaic power plant in North America, the 25-megawatt DeSoto Solar Park in Pensacola, Fla., consisting of over 90,000 solar panels and providing enough power for 3,000 homes.

The report predicts that the cost of generating power from rooftop solar panels will drop from the 2009 cost of $0.21 per kWh to $0.10 per kWh in 2015, which is equivalent to typical household electricity rates.

Further, the cost of rooftop solar power could drop to as low as $0.06 per kWh by 2030. At that cost, solar power will be significantly cheaper than household electricity rates, allowing an average household to save more than $400 per year in electricity bills while providing an additional electricity choice for homeowners.

Consumers Brace for High Gas Prices this Summer

- Monday, March 28, 2011

With rising gas prices threatening to derail the tentative economic recovery, consumer advocate groups are pressing President Obama to release the strategic petroleum reserve to lower the price of gas.

The government has tapped these reserves in the past; first, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and before that, during the first Gulf War. In both instances, the government’s action reduced the price per gallon of gas.

Analysts, however, question whether such an action would truly have a substantial long-term impact on the US economy. They argue that tapping the reserves would likely yield a short-term reduction of approximately 3-5% in the cost per gallon, yet the drop would be temporary. By mid-summer Americans can nonetheless be looking at an average of $4 per gallon.

There are, of course, other options available to the typical American consumer. Switching to a high MPG vehicle and lowering the thermostat this winter can help to reduce energy costs and absorb the impact of high gas prices this summer.

Lower Your Energy Costs with Help from Uncle Sam

- Thursday, March 24, 2011

It’s not uncommon for commentators to say things like, “the Federal government should be run like a business.” In many ways, the analogy makes sense: like a private business, we – “customers” of the government – should expect efficiency, effectiveness, and good services.

In other areas, however, the analogy falls apart. For starters, unlike private businesses, governments have comparatively small advertising budgets. And by “advertising,” we mean the ability to promote and raise awareness around government programs aimed at helping citizens.

Take EnergyStar, for example. It’s the is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping consumers reduce energy costs through energy-efficient products and practices.

EnergyStar provides information on a host of energy-efficient products and guidance for green-friendly home improvements, and for businesses, strategies to help them save money on heating and cooling costs

With this guidance, in addition to cost savings derived through energy deregulation, homeowners and business alike can make significant dents in their energy bills.

Applying Free Market Principles to the Energy Sector

- Friday, March 18, 2011

One of the cornerstones of Western capitalism is the concept of the free market. As any who has tried to purchase cold medicine can attest, the choices available for certain products are seemingly limitless.

Yet one of the ironies of our system is that certain areas of the economy and society fall short of the free market premise. Take education, for example. Families lacking the necessary finances are essentially forced to send their children to certain school systems.

Then there’s the energy market. Despite the mass deregulation that occurred in the 80s – particularly in the energy sector – many localized markets are still dominated by a singular provider. As advocates of deregulation note, the principles of free market economics – more customer choice, greater competition, and a more affordable product – apply to this sector just as it would any other service-based industry.

As the summer approaches, and the threat of higher prices loom, the need for greater competition – and greater energy choice – will only intensify.

Reduce Energy Costs with an Evaporator Cooler

- Friday, March 11, 2011

Reducing energy costs during the summer months may seem difficult if you are in the market for an air conditioner; however, with the evaporative cooler, it just might be easy to stay cool and save!

Known as the swamp cooler, the evaporative cooler cools the air through the evaporation process of water. They cost a lot less than air conditioners and some power utility companies offer rebates if you show proof of purchase.

Through the natural process of evaporation combined with a simple air removing system, dry outside air is pulled through moist pads where it is cooled by evaporation. The cooler air  is allowed to circulate thought the room through the use of a large blower. The in house temperature can be lowered by 30 degrees.

They are mostly used in places where there is relatively no humidity such as the southwestern United States. Once the air becomes too humid outside, the evaporative air conditioner’s ability to cool the inside decreases. The outside air needs to be dry and desert like.

Evaporative cooler costs less and requires only about ¼ of the electricity. It may be a great option if you are trying to cool off your home and reduce energy costs at the same time.



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