March 7, 2014 – Read Our Report, “Leading from the Middle: How Illinois Communities Unleashed Renewable Energy” Click here
So your community has aggregated? That’s great. Now let’s make sure that your electricity is coming from clean and local sources.
1. What is local, clean power?
Local means from your state or region. Why pay to ship your power all the way from Texas when you can bring economic development dollars to your local communities and jobs to your neighbors? Clean means from renewable sources like wind and solar. Illinois has the 4th largest wind power capacity in the country and a booming solar market. Learn more.
2. How do I get it?
Each community is different and will therefore have different priorities and goals. But there are four general ways communities can make conscientious, meaningful purchases with their aggregation contracts: (1) Request a Local Clean Energy Carve-Out; (2) Invest in New, Local Renewables; (3) Get Informed with Power Content Labeling & Pursue Low Carbon Options; and (4) Offset Brown Power with Local RECs. Regardless of which option(s) a community chooses, it is important for every community to ask for citizen input, hold public hearings and engage citizens in reviewing the bids. Learn more.
3. Why does it matter?
Generating renewable energy in the communities where it will be used achieves many benefits: providing local jobs and economic development, avoiding the expense and inefficiency of long-distance power transmission, enhancing grid reliability for everyone, protecting your community from blackouts, reducing harmful greenhouse gas pollution; and achieving state renewable energy goals, to name a few. Learn more.
4. What does it cost?
The most impactful option is to actually use your aggregation bid to build new projects. The assumption out there right now is that renewable energy is just too expensive. But consider that:
- Renewable energy developed today will have the same price 20 years from now. You cannot say that about other types of generation.
- Renewable energy developed in your community lowers the amount of energy you need to purchase for the next 20 years.
- Renewable energy developed in your community, particularly solar, reduces the “peak consumption” of your community. The most expensive power is the power we use at peak times of day, such as 3 p.m. on a hot July day when everyone has their AC on. So when energy suppliers are figuring out how much they will need to charge your community, factoring in that there is some solar to cover peak demand will reduce the overall price of purchased power.
- Solar is cheaper than ever. Panel prices are the lowest they have ever been and are unlikely to rise much in the next 5 years. The time to buy is now.