Puget Sound Energy (PSE) sent me a mailer for their Green Power Program today. It’s a fairly straightforward program. You choose to switch the source your home (or business) uses for power over to renewable energy sources, in whole or in part, and agree to pay the added expense it costs PSE to provide this alternative.
Right now, I pay $0.10 per kWh. With this plan, I’d pay $0.1125 per kWh. A 12.5% increase.
I asked the PSE advisor what the average monthly power consumption was for homes of my size in my area: 1,000 kWh. Mine: 579 kWh (yay me). So my average monthly bill is $57.90 right now, and would be $65.15 under the Green Power Plan – a $7.25 per month increase.
Not that big of a deal, really. I can go to Starbucks or Jamba Juice two less times each month and pay for that. I can safe Mother Earth _and_ lose weight. Good deal, right?
That’s not why I’m doing it, though. I’m not known for being an environmental champion, but I do recognize that developing alternative energy sources is important for us. It will not only help the environment and reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, but it’ll also push the technological envelope in ways we don’t (and can’t) realize right now.
Will it have a measurable effect on pollution in my area? I doubt it. Washington State is already fairly green – we are the “ever” green state, after all! Besides, to really solve the global environmental challenges we may face in the future, we’ll need some influence over the second and third world countries ( *cough* China *cough* India *cough* ). I doubt that me switching to wind power will accomplish that. What it may do, though, is add a little more incentive to solving the green energy issues domestically so that we can export that technology to our less advanced friends.
It worked in Africa with cell phones and cable TV. Why can’t it work with renewable energy?
You’re probably asking… “So what’s with the ‘Kill A Tree’ thing?” Here’s the rest of the story:
So I sign up for the plan and the adviser says I’ll be getting a confirmation in the mail. I ask him if that is necessary. I mean, why do I need them to kill a tree to thank me for saving the planet, right?
“If I don’t send you out a confirmation, you won’t receive the quarterly program reports that detail the progress we’re making.”
“You mean, if I let you kill a tree to thank me for saving the planet, you’ll continue to kill more trees every three months to tell me how other people are saving the planet as well?”
Thankfully, he allowed me to opt out of both the confirm and the newsletter.