As we have for the past few years, the Michael Schwartz Library Sustainability Team will be sending out some sustainability tips each week of October, Campus Sustainability Month. Here are this week's tips!
Northeast Ohioans have several options for renewable sources of electric power. Depending on where you live in Northeast Ohio, either Cleveland Public Power or FirstEnergy/Illuminating Company, manages the power lines, delivers the power to your house, and may even generate the electricity itself. But you can select other electrical power suppliers or aggregators for the power generation portion of your electrical service if you’re a FirstEnergy/Illuminating Company customer. Power aggregators help group households together to secure better rates from competitively bid suppliers, and this also allows them to advocate for things like renewable power.
Renewable power is managed through Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), which represent 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of power from renewable energy sources. Renewable power providers can’t guarantee that all your electricity at any given moment is from a renewable source, so RECs are used as credits for renewable power generation. The power you use right now might not be renewable, but it’s backed MWh for MWh by renewable power being generated and delivered somewhere else.
Finding a renewable energy provider is not difficult in Ohio. The Energy Choice Ohio web site allows you to compare the various suppliers available via your current power provider. Their Apples to Apples comparison tool allows you to filter by parameters like how much power is renewable, whether the rate is fixed or variable, whether there are fees, and so on. While 100% renewable electricity isn’t the cheapest option among suppliers, there are suppliers with competitive rates. And by comparing the rates and fees and amount of renewable power provided you can choose a supplier that balances your needs against your budget.
Cleveland’s power supplier is the aggregator SOPEC, a non-profit power aggregator, to supply their power. SOPEC offers 100% renewable power at competitive rates and is opt-out, meaning customers are assigned this supplier by default. You can view SOPEC’s rates at their electric rates page. Many Northeast Ohio communities have arrangements with the aggregator NOPEC. Like SOPEC, NOPEC is opt-out, though you can change your plan within NOPEC. NOPEC’s default electric supply options include only 8.5% renewable power, which is the Ohio minimum under the current renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS). Thankfully, NOPEC also offers 100% renewable options which are similar in cost to the standard options. You can find NOPEC’s current rates and plans at their electric rates page.
Another option available to Northeast Ohioans is residential solar panels. If you want to learn more about putting solar panels on your home or your property, visit the Cuyahoga Country Department of Sustainability web site to learn about Solar Co-Ops available to Cuyahoga County residents.
Thank you for helping to make our campus (and your home) more sustainable!
-This week's tips compiled by Brandon Walker, Systems & Knowledge Bases Librarian, Michael Schwartz Library, with help from Jenn McMillin, CSU Sustainability Director