The Maine Green Power Program commonly asked questions
What is renewable energy and why is it important?
Renewable energy is energy from sources that replenish themselves without depleting the Earth’s resources.
Compared to traditional energy sources, renewable energy offers benefits including:
- Lower levels of air pollutants and wastewater
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
- Reduced reliance on imported and domestic fossil fuels
- Boosts to Maine’s economy and job availability due to investments in local renewable energy projects
What kind of renewable energy am I supporting through Maine Green Power?
Green power projects that are eligible to supply renewable energy to Maine Green Power include:
- Solar photovoltaic systems
- Hydroelectric projects that meet state and local fish passage requirements
- Wind turbines
- Biomass facilities that use wood, wood waste, landfill gas or agricultural biogas
- Tidal power projects
- Geothermal projects
- Fuels cells that use landfill gas or agricultural biogas
Maine Green Power will issue an annual report, reviewed by the Maine Public Utilities Commission, that details the sources of the energy used over the course of each year.
How does Maine Green Power work?
When you enroll in Maine Green Power, the program will purchase certificates (see below) from renewable energy facilities in Maine on your behalf. This guarantees that electricity from facilities like wind, solar, and biomass is delivered to the regional power system. Electricity from renewable energy facilities replaces and reduces the need for electricity generated from non-renewable sources like fossil fuels, creating measurable environmental benefits.
How does Maine Green Power actually purchase renewable energy?
When you sign up for Maine Green Power, renewable energy is purchased to match your participation level in the form of renewable energy certificates (RECs). RECs are one way the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend procuring renewable energy. To learn more about RECs, see the questions below or visit the EPA’s website.
Doesn’t the State require renewable energy generation already?
All purchases through Maine Green Power are voluntary and represent the generation of green power above and beyond the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which sets a statewide minimum level of renewable energy use. For that reason, none of the renewable energy purchased by Maine Green Power participants can be used by Maine’s electricity providers to fulfill their RPS requirements. Maine Green Power enables electricity customers to go beyond the RPS and “green” their own electricity use.
Will my purchase really make a difference?
Yes. Your purchase builds demand for Maine-based renewable energy, encouraging new renewable energy supply that helps support jobs and makes sustainable and productive use of our state’s resources. Maine Green Power is sourced from emissions-free and low-emissions electricity generators in Maine such as hydro, solar, and biomass1. Maine Green Power will reduce carbon emissions under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative by retiring the Voluntary Renewable Energy (VRE) “set aside” of carbon allowances for every qualifying Maine Class I REC that is purchased for program supply. Each megawatt-hour that qualified for the VRE set-aside for 2012 avoided 907 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.
We will issue an annual report detailing the mix of renewable resources each year and describing the positive environmental impact you’ve made thanks to your participation.
When a biomass facility combusts plant matter (biomass), carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. However, in order to grow, trees and other plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. This release/reduce cycle is considered net carbon neutral by the U.S. Department of Energy. View a detailed overview.
Who is eligible to participate in Maine Green Power?
If you pay an electric bill to Central Maine Power, Emera Maine – Bangor Hydro District, or Emera Maine – Maine Public Service District for your home or business, you are eligible to participate in Maine Green Power.
Why should my business purchase Maine Green Power?
Choosing renewable energy offers a number of benefits to your business. Choosing Maine Green Power will help your business:
- Buy emissions-free or low emission energy
- Be a leader in your community and industry
- Generate customer loyalty and employee pride
- Create positive publicity and earn recognition benefits
- Differentiate your company from the competition
- Connect with and market to environmentally conscious customers
Maine Green Power will assist participating businesses in highlighting their green power commitment to employees and customers.
Can I reduce my monthly energy bill and still participate in the program?
An easy way of reducing costs is to reduce the amount of energy you use. For example, if you install compact fluorescent light bulbs in place of conventional bulbs, you would reduce the amount of electricity you use, thus reducing your bill. In fact, if you conserve enough energy at the same time you buy green power, your overall electric bill might not increase at all. You would benefit and so would the environment! For more information please visit Efficiency Maine.
How do I know that I’m getting what I pay for?
The Maine Public Utilities Commission will provide oversight to ensure that only eligible Maine renewable energy resources are used to generate energy for Maine Green Power. In addition, Maine Green Power will issue annual reports that outline the mix of renewable resources your household or business purchased through Maine Green Power.
Who manages Maine Green Power?
Maine Green Power is a program of the Maine Public Utilities Commission. 3Degrees Group Inc., a national leader in green power program services, was selected by the Commission via a competitive proposal process to help manage and grow the program.
Can I sign up if I live in an apartment?
If you pay your electricity bill, you have the decision-making authority to enroll in Maine Green Power.
Am I required to participate?
Participation in Maine Green Power is strictly voluntary.
Can I cancel whenever I want?
Absolutely. There is no commitment. Simply email [email protected] to cancel
How do I sign up?
You can enroll your home or business on the Enrollment form at www.maine.gov/mpuc/greenpower/