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Q&A

Green Power Switch

What is Green Power Switch®?

Green Power Switch is a simple way for you to increase regional renewable energy and protect the local environment for future generations. For as little as $4 a month you can do your part to support renewable electricity from sources such as wind, solar and biomass.

Although the price of renewable energy is generally coming down, it still costs more than energy from traditional sources. Your purchase of Green Power Switch helps cover the difference in the cost. Each $4 block of Green Power Switch ensures 150 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity is generated in the Tennessee Valley region by a renewable resource. This is in addition to the renewable and clean energy already included in TVA’s standard energy supply. The average monthly output of a typical solar panel is slightly less than 150 kWh  (averaged over the course of a year)1.

 

1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

With my purchase, do I get green power at my home or meter?

No. The electrons do not flow directly from the renewable energy generator to your residence or business. Instead, the purchase of Green Power Switch ensures that electricity from renewable resources is generated and added to the power grid. Renewable energy generators are connected to the electric grid just as conventional electricity generators are. Once electricity from renewable sources enters the grid, it mixes with electricity from conventional resources. Because electrons from different kinds of resources look and act the same, it is impossible to know if the electricity you are using comes from green electricity sources or other electricity sources.

To learn more about how the electric grid works, visit the U.S. Energy Information Administration's website.

Why doesn’t TVA already provide renewable energy for me?

In 2010, about 40 percent of the TVA power supply came from clean or carbon-free energy sources – primarily nuclear, but also including hydropower and renewable energy sources. In its vision for the future, TVA is focused on having a cleaner, more diverse generation portfolio that will continue to deliver affordable, reliable power. Green Power Switch generation is in addition to what is included in TVA’s generation mix and allows those customers who really value using energy from renewable sources to support the production of additional supply.

How much does Green Power Switch cost? Why does it cost more than conventional energy?

Green Power Switch is sold to residential consumers in 150 kilowatt-hour blocks. This amount represents about 12 percent of a typical household’s average monthly energy use4. Each block adds $4 to the customer’s monthly power bills. Customers may buy as many blocks as they like. Green Power Switch is also marketed to commercial and industrial consumers, who are asked to buy blocks based on the amount of energy they use.

Although renewable sources like sunlight and wind are free, the technology used to capture the energy they produce is generally more expensive than traditional power generation methods. Hopefully, an increase in the demand for renewable energy will lead to the expansion of power production capacity and eventually to lower costs.

4. Source: The Energy Information Administration website

How does green power benefit the environment and help my community?

A purchase of Green Power Switch creates demand for renewable energy in the Tennessee Valley region. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the purchase of one megawatt-hour (or 1,000 kilowatt-hours) of renewable energy from Tennessee will avoid an estimated 1,917 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions from electricity use, which is the equivalent to the CO2 emissions from consuming 97.5 gallons of gasoline2.

The environmental effects of traditional energy sources like coal, natural gas, oil and nuclear power can be significant. Zero-emissions electricity resources like wind and solar will help keep the air in the Tennessee Valley cleaner, while supporting clean-technology economic development in the region.

Although no source of energy is impact-free, renewable resources create less waste and pollution. In fact, an investment of an additional $8 per month on your power bill buys enough Green Power Switch to equal the environmental benefits of not driving a car for over six months3.

2. Source: EPA Green Power Equivalency Calculator

3. Source: EPA Green Power Equivalency Calculator

 

Where are the Green Power Switch generation sites located?

Follow the solar, wind and methane gas links at left to get information about TVA’s green power generation sites.

 

Am I really supporting renewable energy? Is Green Power Switch independently certified?

Green Power Switch has always been a Green-e Energy® Certified program. During 2012, two new Green Power Switch options are being tested in a limited number of Tennessee Valley communities. One of these pilot programs, Green Power Switch Pure Solar, is not certified by Green-e Energy because Green-e requires that certified products have a minimum of 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per block. Pure Solar has 50 kWh per block because that makes it more affordable. Nevertheless, TVA carefully monitors and verifies both the quantity of energy generated by solar projects in the Tennessee Valley and the quantity sold to Green Power Switch customers to ensure that we meet a high standard of transparency and credibility.

When you see the Green-e Energy logo, it means:

  • The renewable energy option contains only new renewable resources as defined in the Green-e National Standard.
  • The renewable sources of energy supplying the renewable energy option are independently verified by Green-e Energy, operated by the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions.
  • The purchaser of a Green-e Energy Certified renewable energy certificate is the sole “owner” of the environmental attributes of a specific megawatt-hour of energy added to the grid. Independent verification ensures that no megawatt-hour is double-counted.
  • The company offering the certified renewable energy option agrees to abide by the Green-e Energy Code of Conduct and Customer Disclosure Requirements governing its ethical treatment of customers.

For more information on Green-e Energy certification requirements, call 888-63-GREEN, or visit the website.

Is Green Power Switch renewable energy eligible for LEED points?

Yes. Currently all Green Power Switch renewable energy is eligible for green power points under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. LEED standards are subject to change. Read more about the Green Building Council.

 

Which power companies are participating in Green Power Switch?

See the current list of participating power companies.

Does TVA or my local power company power profit from the program?

No. All program revenues are used to cover the costs of renewable energy certified by Green-e Energy and administration and marketing for Green Power Switch . To find out more about Green-e Energy, visit its website.

How do I sign up for Green Power Switch, and how am I billed?

You may sign up online by choosing Residential Sign-Up or Commercial Sign-Up. Or, you can contact your local power company, email greenpowerswitch@tva.com, or call 866-673-4340.

Green Power Switch charges will appear on your regular utility bill as an additional line item.

What if I want to cancel my purchase of Green Power Switch?

No problem. You can cancel at any time at no charge. Just contact your local power distributor, email greenpowerswitch@tva.com, or call 866-673-4340.

 

 

 

 

 

           
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