While utilities in some states have been less than enthusiastic about the push for renewable energy, utilities around the state of Maine are making it easier than ever for consumers to make the switch to clean power. In late April, the Maine Public Utilities Commission and 3Degrees, a leading renewable energy provider, launched a new, statewide green power program called Maine Green Power.
The program allows both residential and commercial consumers to purchase clean, local renewable energy, including solar, wind, hydro and biomass for 1.5 cents extra per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Those who participate in Maine Green Power will be guaranteed that the electricity they use at their home or business is matched by electricity generated by solar, hydro, wind, biomass or other renewable energy projects located in Maine.
To participate, Maine residents or business owners simply choose a contribution level that fits within their budget, from 1/2 block (250 kilowatt-hours at $3.75/month) to 4 blocks (2000 kWh at $30 month). According to the Maine Green Power website, the average home in Maine uses 521 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a month. Using the EPA carbon calculator, this means each full 500 kWh block purchased through the program helps avoid as much as 1.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere over the course of a year. This is equivalent to the carbon sequestered annually by planting 49 trees or not burning 213 gallons of gasoline.
Once enrolled in the program, customers will continue to use their electricity as usual, with no service interruptions. The extra charge on their bill is matched by the program, and used to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates, or RECs. Currently the Maine Green Power program is only available to customers of Central Maine Power (CMP), Bangor Hydro Electric Company (BHE) and Maine Public Service Company (MPS).