In January 2009, AMP began offering its new EcoSmart Choice green pricing program, which provides the benefits of renewable generation directly to member communities and their customers. EcoSmart Choice allows municipal electric system customers the option of offsetting up to 100 percent of their electric usage with renewable resources. AMP is excited to offer the EcoSmart Choice option, as national statistics show a strong correlation between overall customer satisfaction and programs that allow the customer to choose renewable energy.
Green pricing programs such as EcoSmart Choice are based on the purchase and retirement of renewable energy certificates (RECs). A REC represents the “greenness” of the electricity that is generated. For each megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity that is generated from renewable resources, one REC is created. For each REC that is purchased and used by the electric utility for the green pricing program, one MWh of traditional non-renewable electric generation is offset. The buying and selling of RECs through green pricing programs such as EcoSmart Choice enables electric utilities to deliver the benefits of renewable energy to more customers, regardless of their power supply mix.
EcoSmart Choice is available to the customers of participating AMP member communities. AMP customers can contact their local utility to see if the program is being offered, and to sign up for the EcoSmart Choice program. Customers may also visit www.ecosmartchoice.org to sign up online. Residential customers who choose to join EcoSmart Choice are able to offset up to 100 percent of their electric usage with renewable energy for as little as an additional 0.5 cents per kWh. For example, if a customer uses 750 kWh in a month, the EcoSmart Choice program will purchase an equal number of RECs to match that monthly usage, and the customer would pay an additional $3.75 as part of their utility bill that month to cover their participation in the program.
Commercial and industrial customers can offset a portion of their electric usage through the purchase of blocks of RECs. Each block obtained through the EcoSmart Choice program is equal to 1000 kWh (1 MWh) and is available for as little as an additional $5.00 per block. For example, if a company uses 10,000 kWh in a month and wants to offset 20 percent of that total with renewable energy, it would purchase 2 blocks through the EcoSmart Choice program at an additional cost of $10.00 for that month.
RECs used by AMP for EcoSmart Choice are sourced primarily from hydroelectric, landfill gas, or wind facilities located in AMP’s six-state footprint.
Hydroelectric: AMP operates the Belleville Hydroelectric Station located on the Ohio River at the Belleville Locks and Dam. As additional hydroelectric projects are developed, more hydro RECs will be available to support the EcoSmart Choice program.
Landfill Gas: AMP purchases the electric output and owns one-half the RECs that are generated from a number of Ohio landfill gas facilities.
Wind: AMP operates Ohio’s first utility-scale wind farm, located in Bowling Green. While the RECs from this facility are not available at this time, AMP’s participation in additional wind projects is expected to add wind RECs into the mix for the EcoSmart Choice program.
For more information on EcoSmart Choice, please contact Julia Blankenship, director of energy policy and sustainability, at 614.540.1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.