Maryland is one of many states that now offer consumers the power to choose not only how much they pay for electricity, but where and how it is generated. Many rate-payers in the state can now choose to get their power from retail electricity providers who purchase electricity that has been generated using renewable energy sources such as wind power and solar.
Consumer advocate groups have long petitioned the state to allow rate-payers the option to choose their electricity provider. Now they can choose to lower their energy bills and do something good for the environment. The Maryland Clean Energy Center has been set up to help consumers choose their best electricity rate option when it comes to sourcing the electricity that they pay for.
Through the program Maryland Power to Choose, Maryland rate payers who are conscious of the environmental factors that go into electricity production can now opt to pay for only electricity that has been generated sustainably. And they can choose not only how, but where the electricity that they use is produced. This allows residents and small businesses a real choice when it comes to environmental awareness.
Currently around 50 percent of the electricity in Maryland is generated in coal-burning facilities, which produce the most greenhouse gases of any fuel type. By visiting the Maryland Clean Energy Center webpage, consumers can see the exact mix of fuels used by each utility company, and can read about the best ways to offset the negative environmental impact from this type of power generation.
The way this program works is through the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits or RECs that represent certified green energy production. These RECs can be purchased directly by consumers as a way to ensure their power was generated by renewable sources. It gives consumers for the first time, direct power over where and how their electricity was generated.
Although it currently represents only a small portion of the overall energy used in the state, the Maryland Clean Energy Center hopes to expand the program in coming years. The more demand there is for energy generated using environmentally sound sources, the less need for coal-powered generation. If every Maryland resident that cared about the environment was to choose this option, it could reduce the amount of coal being burned for electricity to levels not seen for decades. And that’s good for the environment.