How 100% renewable energy works:
By choosing 100% renewable energy, you are “voting with your dollars”, and financially supporting the increase of the total amount of renewable sources in the electric grid mix. When customers purchase a 100% renewable electricity plan, they’re still getting their electricity from the same electricity grid to serve their immediate power needs, but National Gas & Electric takes it a step further,by purchasing renewable energy certificates (known as RECs) to match/offset our customers’ usage. This ensures they are purchasing a 100% renewable energy product and investing in a cleaner grid for everyone. This is how almost every renewable energy product is sold.
Think of the electric grid as a huge water cooler that is refilled from multiple faucets. The first faucet represents renewable energy like wind, solar, hydro and biomass. The second faucet represents different non-renewable electricity generation sources such as coal, oil, gas, and nuclear. Currently the vast majority of sources filling the grid are from polluting fossil fuels and nuclear energy (which produces hazardous waste).
As more customers request electricity from renewable sources, more RECs are purchased, hence, more “clean water” pours into the “water cooler” and less “dirty water” is added. Eventually, the color of the water cooler begins to clear up as more and more people begin demanding green energy.
When you purchase renewable energy, it does not mean your physical electricity is coming directly from renewable generation sources. Once the electrons from each source enter the grid, they blend together and can not be separated or filtered by source. However, it does mean that the electricity being poured back into the grid on your behalf comes from 100% renewable energy sources and not from polluting fossil fuels. You are choosing how your power is generated, not how it is delivered. Your delivery remains the same. Your local utility company still owns and maintains the poles and wires and restores service during outages.