By Phil VanHorne
CEO, BlueRock Energy
With all the talk about climate change, you may hear companies say they power their operations with 100% renewable energy, but what does that really mean and is it entirely feasible?
Let’s begin by defining renewable energy. Renewable energy means an energy source that is not depleted by use, such as water, wind, or solar power. Specifically, renewable energy sources are wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and solar. Not only can they never be depleted (unless the end of the Earth is near), but they produce zero carbon dioxide emissions. However, they aren’t always readily available to use as energy sources. Think cloudy days with no wind.
Power is power—whether it is wind, coal, natural gas nuclear or solar. There is no quality difference in the fuel source. Pollution is pollution, which is something we all agree is a bad thing. Obviously, we all want clean air, and coal isn’t as clean as wind and solar, but strides are being made to lower the emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases through processes intended to produce ‘clean coal.’ Natural gas while still being a fossil fuel, is cleaner burning and a low emission fuel.
To be 100% reliant on renewable energy may, in some cases, be more of a goal for companies than it is a reality, mostly because renewable energy is a premium product and therefore costs more. Like some energy companies , customers are very committed to lowering their carbon footprint, as it falls in line with their organically grown, locally sourced business philosophy. To achieve that goal, these companies are willing to pay for the premium product. The companies that typically purchase this include craft brewers, specialty manufacturers and some retail sales operations. Therefore, we go out and buy wind, hydro and bio mass and put together an energy package or a mix to help them meet their energy goals, whether the goal is 100 percent or 10 recent renewables.
Currently, BlueRock Energy has about 50 residential customers who are 100% renewable, and the trend is growing. Installation of solar panels and/or becoming a member of a community shared solar project is another giant step in the right direction. By taking advantage of federal and state tax incentives, solar systems can be an ideal way to lower your energy bills and move toward energy independence.
If you are interested in finding the right mix of renewable energy to meet your goals, go online and find your local energy company. Give them a call, so you can get a better understanding of how renewable energy can help cut down on your monthly bill.