Saturday, March 17

Green Energy and Carbon Credits

This is a bit of a rant. I believe in green energy. I believe in public utilities doing electricity production using renewable means. But the truth is, once the electricity goes on the grid it becomes part of one huge, indistinguishable pool of electricity. In other words, even if I subscribe to Windsource (and I did as soon as it became available) 90% of my electricity still comes from coal. This is because in Colorado, 90% of all electricity generation comes from coal.

Similarly, I like programs like TerraPass, NativeEnergy, and CarbonFund. I like places that collect dollars and oversee investing those dollars in programs that will reduce carbon. But even though I participate in one of those programs, I don't think that absolves me from concern. And no, I'm neither Catholic, Jewish, nor Scotch, I didn't grow up in a single-parent home, or a hippy home, or the child of Great Depression survivors.

What I did grow up as is the daughter of an inventor with a passion for R&D. I signed up for Windsource not so I could put a sticker on my window, but so that more wind generators could be built. I signed up for my carbon program not so I could feel less guilty, but so that we would have a better understanding of what we can do to sequester carbon. So I like these programs.

Here's the thing though... why are the prices so low? I mean, $50 to offset all the carbon emitted by generating electricity and burning natural gas for my house for a year? That's peanuts. I do know there's a limit to what these programs can put to use at any one time, but I also know that those of us who can should be putting more money into the fight.

  • What about creating a fund that installs solar panels on low income houses? Say something like the Habitat for Humanity program for solar?
  • What about microlending programs that allow people to borrow money to replace inefficient appliances to be paid back by the savings on their electric bills?
  • What about paying the neighborhood can collector to pick up other recyclables as well?
  • What about building programs at the local non-profit for installing solar?

Okay. End rant. ;-)

No comments:

Unbox Videos


NotSoBigLiving is the story of a woman inspired by Sarah Susanka, Bill McKibben, Airstreams, Tumbleweed houses, Mennonites, Jimmy Carter, hippies, survivalists, Anasazi, Pema Chodron and Joko Beck, Scott Peck, Buckminster Fuller, and Al Gore to see what she can do to reduce her carbon footprint in her mid-80's suburban townhome. Strategies include roommates, alternative travel, organic eating, planting a victory garden, mindfulness, and a belly full of laughter.