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Become an Educated Energy Consumer    OttawaEnergyAudit     Friday 15 December 2017
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Published Columns: December 2006
Curbing Your Consumption:
Green Power

By John Ford

The power coming through the wire from Ontario's generation capacity comes from a number of sources, most of them powered by non-renewable resources. There are a number of ways that you can "clean up" the power you use to minimise your impact on the environment.

The ambitious might want to take advantage of the Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program. Build a wind turbine, or micro-hydro project, and sell the power to the grid at 11¢/kWh, or install photovoltaic panels at 42¢/kWh. Here in Alta Vista, PV panels might be a discreet and practical choice, but the cost is still prohibitive and a long-term investment of 20 years or more.

So after minimising your consumption, how can you be assured that you're doing all you can? Buy green power from an all renewable generation company. How does that work? There are no changes to be made to your home or electrical system. You sign up with a third party electricity retailer, and the energy charge on your bill goes toward 100% renewable generation. One of those retailers is Bullfrog Power. At 9.1¢ per kWh, the cost for the average household in Ontario at that price is about 34% higher. But if you lower your consumption by 27% to 23.9 kWh per day at the same time, the bill won't go up. For someone using only 10 kWh per day, the cost is 30% more or about $12.50 per month. A small price to pay to know you're not creating greenhouse gases or smog with your consumption.

You can also invest in a co-op project such as Windshare, which generates green power. You must buy power from a re-seller who buys from Windshare to actually use their generated electricity.

Of course the greenest and most responsible thing you can do to lower your emissions is to cut your use of energy down to the absolute minimum.

John Ford is a technology consultant, owner of a small energy conservation business, and the Energy Advocate for the Green Party of Ontario.