As ogres, we love being “green”! But going “green” in Texas doesn’t mean you have to ogrepay! That’s because we have an abundance of renewable energy in the state. Here are some tips on getting a fair price when choosing renewable or green energy plans in Texas.
Renewable Energy 101
Texas currently produces and consumes more electricity than any other state because of its size, diverse climate, and abundance of natural resources, thus enhancing the diversity of our electric grid.
Many tend to believe that if we choose a renewable energy plan, only renewable electricity is coming to our home or business. However, that’s not how it works. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) operates the electric grid and manages the deregulated market for 75 percent of the state. Suppliers put energy in and consumers take energy out. Since the grid mixes all of that energy together, regardless of the source — solar, wind, coal, nuclear and natural gas, among others — there’s really no way to purchase electricity from a particular source.
Here is an explanation from Energy Ogre CEO, Jesson Bradshaw.
ERCOT keeps track of how much output each one of these facilities generates over the course of time. Renewable energy suppliers receive a Renewable Energy Credit (REC) for every megawatt-hour of electricity that is generated by a renewable energy source. RECs represent the environmental benefits (such as the absence of greenhouse gases) associated with the renewable electricity produced.
So when a retail electricity provider (REP) offers you a renewable plan, what they are doing is procuring renewable energy credits from the marketplace of renewable energy sources. If a homeowner uses 24 megawatt-hours over the course of a year, the retail electricity provider would have the obligation of procuring that amount of renewable energy credits and retiring them on your behalf each year.
Am I Paying Too Much for Renewable Energy?
If you choose a renewable energy plan from a retailer, you don’t have to pay a premium for it in Texas. In addition, there are some companies that are 100% renewable and aren’t tremendously more expensive than regular offerings. Texas has a high amount of renewable power plant generation, which keeps the renewable energy credits inexpensive. However, it is reasonable to expect renewable energy to be slightly pricier than a regular plan.
The bottom line is that there is a lot of confusion when it comes to choosing a renewable energy plan. Perhaps some REPs prefer it that way, but Energy Ogre is committed to educating our members. If you are currently paying a high premium price, chances are you may be unnecessarily adding to a retailer’s profit margin.
Go Ogre Green
Energy Ogre is here to get our members on the right track to going green and not overpaying. If you are an Energy Ogre member and you choose renewable energy, we make every effort to ensure we find you a reasonably competitive renewable plan with at least 50% of those requirements for RECs. If we can’t find one on the market that is competitive at the time, we will advise you of your options.
In the meantime, Energy Ogre hopes to soon launch an opportunity where our members can buy renewable energy certificates directly from green plants to soak up those excess credits and have a real impact on promoting green technologies.
Note: While many suppliers and consumers treat green and renewable sources of electricity as synonymous, there is a distinction. Green energy is that which comes from specific sources that have the highest environmental benefit, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and small hydroelectric sources, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Meanwhile, renewable energy “includes resources that rely on fuel sources that restore themselves over short periods of time and do not diminish,” which includes all the green options but also other sources, for example, large hydroelectric dams, which present certain environmental tradeoffs.