While I appreciate Andrea Downs’ sentiment with regard to the Newton Power Choice program, I fear she has overstated the likely impact of the program by calling it the “climate opportunity of a generation.” If people choose to buy the more expensive “higher percentage of renewables” in their electric bill, they will actually not receive electricity that is more based on renewables than anybody else.
The grid that serves us is a regional grid with the same mix of fossil fuels and renewables across six states. The extra charge for “more renewables” will be used to purchase renewable energy credits (RECs), which are financial instruments that do not influence the generating mix serving your home.
Some might assert that these purchases of RECs will expand the stock of renewable resources over time, but even that conclusion is subject to a lot of assumptions. Renewables will be an expanding part of our energy mix if they are less expensive, not more expensive, than fossil-fueled power plants. That is more like the climate opportunity of a generation, not a program that charges us more.
Paul F. Levy, Oxford Road, Newton Center