I am always struck by how easy it is to incorporate environmentally friendly actions into my life. One thing I did was change over to a renewable energy source through my power company, IPL (Indianapolis Power and Light). This means that all the electricity in my home now is being generated from a wind farm in Minnesota.  

The process to get moved from conventional to renewable energy was a bit tedious and time consuming. I had to call my electric provider and then they send me a few forms to fill out . I mailed back the forms, and after a two to three week wait (processing time I was told) I was converted over to 100% green energy. I would say that was the only draw back of switching over to renewable energy.  

When switching over to renewable energy I was advised by IPL that I would have to pay a premium for the green energy. The premium amounts to about $0.03 per kilowatt hour. This premium turns out to be a minimal cost, about $1.00 to $1.60 extra per month for me. 

Why did I decide to switch over to green, renewable energy. There are some obvious reasons.

IPL provides households in its area with electricity through the burning of coal and that for me has always been problematic. Coal, a fossil fuel, releases carbon emissions when burned and contributes to the global warming. The Air Quality and Emissions Trends Report (2006) from the Environmental Protection Agency lists electricity generation (through fossil fuels) as accounting for 36% of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s a lot. Besides impacting the climate of the earth, fossil fuels (coal, gas, oil) add to air and water pollution, eventually seep into the earth and harm our water supplies, plants, and animals.

I like having electricity since it makes my life so much easier, however I do not enjoy being part of a larger problem. The benefits of using a renewable source of energy helps me responsibly address these issues and reduce my individual carbon footprint.  

Converting over to a renewable energy source was not difficult and I thought “why don’t more people do this.” The cost is the same, give or take a few dollars, and there is a personal sense of helping the planet, and, of course, a reduction of personal guilt (which seems to me my driving factor).  

I found it odd that this green initiative is not heavily promoted by IPL considering the cost to the consumer is negligible and the benefits to the environment are huge. I  found out about IPL’s green program on a discussion board through a post from a person in California.  

Someone mentioned to me that IPL does not heavily promote their green program since having customers use fossil fuel energy is more profitable. However, in order for IPL  to be deemed green they must offer their customers a green option. I don’t know if this is true so it would be nice to hear some feedback on this.  

Just curious. In your area do you know if your energy provider has a green program and what would it take to switch from conventional to renewable energy?

Author: Anila Muhammad