Switching electricity providers in Texas is as easy as a flip of a switch — and has been since the state deregulated its electricity market in 2002.
That’s right! Whether it’s solar, wind, natural gas or coal, if it generates power, there’s most likely an electricity plan for it in Texas, thanks to deregulation. However, when it comes to switching from conventional power to a green electricity plan in your home, some believe that means bringing in fancy technology. They resist using renewable energy because they’re worried that switching power plans requires too much change.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to install solar panels to lower your carbon footprint, help the environment and support green energy. It’s much simpler than you think.
Enjoy 100% Green Energy Without the Technology
Using renewable energy in your house works just like conventional power. Just as you don’t need your own personal coal plant in your backyard, you don’t need your own solar panels. As long as you’re connected to the power grid, which most of us are, you can tap into renewable energy to power your home.
How Electricity Travels to Your Home from the Grid
The electricity that powers homes — whether renewable or not — comes from the power grid. Fun fact: Texas has its own power grid – and it’s the only state that does! You can also thank the Texas power grid (run by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT) for not making you invest in electricity-generating technology to enjoy the benefits of green energy!
After generators produce power, it’s transmitted across the state first through high voltage power lines and then distributed to homes and businesses on the power lines you see lining city streets.
Here’s the twist: Once power enters the grid, you can’t distinguish how that power was sourced. Hence, when you buy green energy, you’re actually buying green energy credits. Also known as Renewable Energy Certificates or RECs, these credits ensure you’re purchasing 100% green electricity. Confused yet? We’ll break it down for you.
How Renewable Energy Certificates Work
If you want to purchase a green electricity plan for your home, it’s important you understand how a REC works. These credits serve as the currency for all renewable energy on the market.
Each REC represents one megawatt hour (MWh, or 1,000 kilowatt-hours) of electricity produced from renewable power generators and added to the grid. To be considered a REC, it must be added to the grid. This means if you have renewable energy technology such as solar panels to generate electricity for your home, you aren’t creating RECs. By purchasing a REC, you are signaling to the energy industry the importance of generating green power.
Take Chariot, for example. Not only are we a retail electricity provider, but we’re also developing our own solar panels to feed the power grid. This means we’ll generate our own RECs – and you can buy them! And once you use that power, the certificate is considered retired so it can no longer be claimed for use.
These credits, however, represent only one part of the clean energy market. Consumers and businesses can also cut their carbon footprint without the use of technology with Voluntary Emission Reductions, more commonly known as carbon offsets.
The Difference Between RECs and Carbon Offsets
While RECs represent the power generated from renewable energy, carbon offsets represent the avoidance or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This is their key differentiator and comparing the two would be like comparing apples to oranges. Still, many people often confuse them, which is why it’s worth noting their differences.
Offsetting carbon involves a specific activity to reduce, capture or store carbon emissions in some shape or form. For example, planting trees is considered an effective carbon offset project because trees capture and store carbon in the earth. On the other hand, when you purchase a REC, you’re purchasing power generated from renewable energy resources – not just offsetting the fossil fuels you’re using.
RECs Support the Renewable Energy Industry and Lower Emissions
When you purchase a green electricity plan (which involves RECs), you’re directly investing in the green energy sector and indirectly lowering your carbon footprint by offsetting the demand for fossil fuel power. You’re also diversifying Texas’s energy portfolio, which makes the grid more reliable as the demand for electricity increases in conjunction with the state’s population growth.
Without these credits, you couldn’t tell if the power you purchase is green or not. 100% green electricity plans like those we offer at Chariot allow you to confidently claim you are a true user of clean, green power.
Supporting the Green Energy Sector Has Never Been More Important
In October 2018, Earth’s leading scientists issued a report, warning that greenhouse gas emissions must be significantly reduced to prevent catastrophic climate change. A few of these disasters include intensified wildfires, massive die-off of coral reefs, food scarcity, unprecedented drought, and even extreme poverty. This is why supporting the green energy sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has never been more important.
While having green tech such as solar panels at your home is great, for most it’s not a financially feasible option — not yet, at least. But with innovations such as RECs and carbon offsets, it has never been easier to make a difference, even if you don’t have the technology.
Ready to put a dent in climate change and support the renewable energy industry? Our green electricity plans enable you to get 100% solar energy in your home without installing solar panels. We’re committed to supporting and growing the green energy sector in Texas, one solar-powered electricity plan at a time.
Join our journey today!