Earth Day to-Do

Homeowners AND RENTERS Unite to Buy Greener Energy. Sign up Now!

Groundswell staff. Photo: Groundswell

With Earth Day coming on April 22 it’s the perfect time to sign up for competitively priced green energy for your home or apartment. In April and May, Groundswell, a DC-based nonprofit, is signing up homeowners and renters to participate in a bulk purchase that will result in very affordable prices for wind energy. Any resident of the District, Maryland, Delaware, or Pennsylvania, whether homeowner or renter, may join the bulk-purchase group at www.groundswell.org/energy or by calling 202-630-5586. A great video on the website explains how the process works. Applications will be accepted through mid May, and your wind energy purchase should be effective by the June billing cycle. 

Even if you have solar panels on your roof, some of your electric energy comes from the grid. By signing up for wind energy you can ensure that all of your electricity is green. If you think you’re already on a wind-power contract but want to participate, send Groundswell an email at energy@groundswell.org.

Switching to wind energy is easy. There will be no change to the equipment that delivers electricity to your abode, and you’ll still receive just one bill from PEPCO. When you switch to wind, the winning company will work with PEPCO to move you to wind power. You won’t have to do anything. If you move you can cancel your contract with no fees. Groundswell vets all of the companies that bid for the group's business. They collect information about the company (such as where their wind energy is produced, efforts to avoid production in bird migratory routes, etc) and pass it along to the bulk-purchase group. You’ll be at no greater risk for power outages, but the money you pay for electricity will go to a wind farm instead of a coal or (fracked!) natural gas plant.  

Wind energy is generated by capturing wind in the atmosphere and converting it into mechanical energy and then into electricity. Wind power has significantly lower carbon emissions than natural gas and coal and is a sustainable and renewable power source.

Why is wind energy now an option for homeowners and renters? Deregulation of the electricity supply market means anyone can now choose to opt out of coal and opt for renewable energy as an electricity source. Unfortunately wind energy often comes at a significantly higher price than what PEPCO offers through its (largely coal) energy options. As bulk purchases, by definition, have a large number of clients, wind energy providers are willing to sell their electricity at a discounted price, making it a much more competitive option. Groundswell bulk purchases have saved participants an average of 15 percent compared to what they would pay to switch on their own. Switching to wind energy through Groundswell will likely cost you no more than $4 extra per month. 

Wind energy production is booming across the country. According to a March report in the Washington Post the US Department of Energy predicts that by 2050 wind could provide as much as one-third of the national energy supply. Elizabeth Lindsey, interim CEO of Groundswell, notes that “environmentalism is for all DC residents. By working together, we can make this city more sustainable and more inclusive.” Join the switch to wind energy now!

Catherine Plume is a lifelong environmentalist and a writer and blogger for the DC Recycler: www.dcrecycler.blogspot.com; Twitter: @DC_Recycler.