FAQ Renewable Energy
Have a question about how it all works, your account, or our company? Check out our extensive log of frequently asked questions. Still don't see what you are looking for? Contact us here.
- Why should I buy wind power?
- Buying wind power and other renewable energies in the form of renewable energy credits (RECs) is one of the most influential things you can do to reduce the environmental impact of your business. Your purchase supports renewable energy growth, reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, fights climate change, helps support rural farmers, and sends a message about voluntary support for renewable energy. It can also bolster your brand and help engage your stakeholders. Learn more about why wind power is the right thing to do for your customers, your brand, the environment, your employees, and your bottom line here.
- What are the benefits of supporting renewable energy?
- Supporting renewable energies like wind power helps reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, fights climate change, helps support rural farmers, and sends a message about public support for renewable energy. It also helps drive clean technologies to market. Learn more.
- Why does my purchase help wind power grow?
- Your wind power purchase helps wind farms grow by making them more financially viable, thereby incentivizing development. Your choice to pay more for clean energy helps wind farms succeed in the energy market where they are competing with fossil fuel energy facilities that are less costly to operate (but more expensive for us all in the long-run).
- What's the difference between renewable energy credits (RECs) and carbon offsets?
- Businesses and consumers use RECs to offset the environmental impact of their electricity use, while carbon offsets are used to reduce the environmental impact of activities that directly create carbon dioxide pollution, such as flying, driving, and some manufacturing. To purchase wind power you need to buy renewable energy credits (RECs) and to purchase carbon offsets you need to buy verified emission reductions (VERs).
- Where does my electricity come from?
- Most electricity consumed in the United States comes from burning coal and natural gas. The actual source of the electricity that powers your home or business depends upon the power plants located in your region of the country. Nationally, 98% of our electricity is produced through fossil fuels and non-renewable forms of energy that include coal, natural gas, large hydro and nuclear. Today, less than 2% of our country’s electricity comes from renewable sources like wind, solar, geothermal, small hydro and biomass.
- Why is conventional electricity harmful?
- According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) electricity production is the largest source of industrial air pollution in the U.S. Pollution from fossil fuel power plants is responsible for one-third of our nitrogen oxide emissions -- the leading cause of smog, one-third of carbon dioxide emissions -- the leading cause of climate change, and two-thirds of sulfur dioxide emissions -- the leading cause of acid rain. The burning of coal and other fossil fuels emits harmful toxins into the air that cause many respiratory diseases and other health problems.
- Why are fossil fuels harmful?
- Fossil fuels are a finite, non-renewable resource taken from the ground via destructive methods like mountaintop removal and strip mining. When burned, these fuels give off greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, the leading cause of global climate change, contribute to asthma and other health problems, and pollute air and waterways.
- Why is wind power more expensive?
- The "fuel" (wind) is free, but there is still a lot of investment to be made in building wind farm capacity across the US. That makes the current price for wind a bit more expensive than continuing to burn fossil fuels in plants that were mostly built and paid for long ago. Our investment in wind power ensures an affordable, clean, inexhaustible source of energy now and for future generations.
- Don't wind turbines kill a lot of birds?
- Not often. The Audubon society estimates that 25,000 birds were killed by wind turbines in 2006, as compared to over 800 million birds killed by collisions with other man-made items like windows, wind shields, buildings and power lines. More birds are killed each year by cats than by wind turbines.
- Is there enough wind power potential for it to be a realistic source of electricity in the U.S.?
- Yes. We have enough wind energy potential in North Dakota, Kansas and Texas alone to produce enough electricity for the entire United States.
- Does choosing renewable energy affect my company’s utility bill?
- Nothing changes with your local utility when you buy renewable energy -- you will continue to receive your electricity and a separate electricity bill from them. The added amount you pay for cleaner, better energy ensures that you are offsetting the impacts of the electricity you use from the grid by guaranteeing that it is replaced on the grid with clean, sustainable wind energy. Learn more.
- Is this a donation?
- No, your purchase is not a donation. You are buying the guarantee that the electricity you consume is replaced with energy generated by renewable sources. Better energy, just like organic foods, costs a bit more. This guarantee comes in the form of a tracked and certified renewable energy credit (REC). You are actually buying a product, a type of commodity.
- What is a renewable energy credit (REC)?
- A renewable energy credit (REC) is an environmental commodity that represents the added value, environmental benefits and cost of renewable energy above conventional methods of producing electricity, namely burning coal and natural gas. RECs help wind farms and other renewable energy facilities grow by making them more financially viable, thereby incentivizing development. Renewable Choice RECs are tracked and certified by the leading national third-party REC auditing organization, Green-e Energy® (a program of the not-for-profit Center for Resource Solutions).
- Why do renewable energy credits (RECs) make a difference?
- We sell RECs because we believe they are the best way that individuals and businesses can support renewable energy development, especially wind power. Wind power reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, fights climate change, helps support rural farmers, and sends a message about public support for renewable energy.
- What is a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)?
- A Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is a regulatory policy that requires the increased production of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energies.
The RPS mechanism generally places an obligation on electricity supply companies to produce a specified fraction of their electricity from renewable energy sources.
- Is wind power from Renewable Choice certified?
- Yes. Renewable Choice voluntarily participants in a strenuous certification process administered by the leading third-party renewable energy credit (REC) auditor in the nation, Green-e Energy®.
Green-e Energy was established by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions to provide information and an objective standard for consumers to compare renewable energy options, and to verify that consumers get what they pay for. For more information on Green-e Energy certification requirements, call 1-888-63-GREEN or log on to www.green-e.org.
- What is Green-e?
- Green-e Energy® was established by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions to provide information and an objective standard for consumers to compare renewable energy options, and to verify that consumers get what they pay for.
Renewable Choice voluntarily accepts and supports the Green-e Energy Code of Conduct and Customer Disclosure Requirements and independent verification methods. Green-e Energy assures customers that Participants portray their Green-e Energy Certified renewable energy option accurately. The Green-e Energy logo shown here can only be used with renewable energy options like this one that promise to meet Green-e Energy’s high standards of environmental and marketing integrity. For more information on Green-e Energy certification requirements, call 1-888-63-GREEN or log on to www.green-e.org.
- What is "additionality"?
- Additionality is a term used to describe the environmental, regulatory, and financial benefits of clean technology developed beyond “business-as-usual”.
Renewable Choice complies with high standards of additionality set forth by Green-e Energy® for renewable energy and Voluntary Carbon Standard and American Carbon Registry standard for verified emission reductions (carbon offsets).
- What is renewable energy?
- Renewable energy is derived from resources that are regenerative or for all practical purposes can not be depleted. Renewable energy sources include wind, solar (photovoltaic), small hydro, and biomass.
- How does wind power work?
- A wind turbine, mounted on a tower, generates electricity via a series of internal rotating mechanisms spun by the force of wind against the turbine's blades. For a detailed description of the workings of a turbine, visit the National Renewable Energy Labs Wind Energy Basics page here. Learn more about how renewable energy credits (RECs) work, and how they support renewable energy development.
- Which U.S. wind farms does my purchase support?
- Renewable Choice works with farms across the country that meet vigorous environmental and consumer protection standards set for by the independent non-profit Green-E Energy®, a division of the Center for Resource Solutions and the leading renewable energy auditing organization in the U.S. See a comprehensive list of our renewable energy and carbon reduction projects.
- What is the Wind Power Card?
- The Wind Power Card is a first-of-its-kind retail product created by Renewable Choice and launched at Whole Foods Market in 2006. These cards are available at select Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S. and can be purchased to offset one month of average individual or family home electricity use. Have a Wind Power Card and need to enter your impact code? Go here.
- What is Green Your Phone?
- Green Your Phone is a first-of-its-kind retail product created by Renewable Choice and launched at Best Buy in 2008. This product offsets the average electricity used to manufacture and use two cell phones for two years. Green Your Phone makes a great gift and helps introduce consumers to the benefits and ease of supporting wind power. Learm more about Green Your Phone on our residential website here.
- What is American Wind?
- American Wind is Renewable Choice’s signature portfolio, supporting wind farms across the United States. Often these wind farms are located in rural areas, supplementing agricultural incomes and promoting local development. American Wind also supports small-scale distributed wind facilities, helping promote a diversified energy infrastructure. American Wind is certified by Green-e Energy®, the nation’s leading third-party renewable energy auditor. Check out our current projects.
- What is Clean Source?
- Our Clean Source portfolio supports a range of renewable energy technologies across the United States. This support can extend to wind farms, biomass facilities, small hydro-electric installations, and geothermal plants. Clean Source allows companies to offset their electricity emissions with an established, credible, cost-effective product that provides significant support for renewable energy development. Clean Source is also Green-e Energy® Certified. Check out our current projects here.