100% Green Power at the RAC

September 23, 2008


Sandi Kleinman is the RAC's Administrative Director.

For the past nine months, I've been working on trying to change our electricity at the RAC from brown to green power while staying within our budget. I'm now pleased to report that we were able to contract for 100% green (wind) power, which is reflective of our environmental concerns and the reality of our budget. This has been an interesting process, one I thought I'd share in the hope of helping those looking to do the same.

Since the deregulation of electric companies, there are now many to choose from. After contacting a number of suppliers and receiving quotes, I settled on working with Constellation NewEnergy, one of the largest suppliers in the area - no hard sell, lots of patience, and lots of time spent explaining how this crazy business works.

Then came the aggravating part, and I realized why I never aspired to a career on Wall Street. Power prices fluctuate according to market conditions, changing daily and seasonally. The challenge is to try to lock in a price for a contracted period of time when you think the price is at the lowest point. Who knew in December that oil prices would continue to climb to historic rates? Each quote I received as time went on got higher. Finally, oil prices began to come down, and I locked in to a price that was comparable to what we're presently paying for brown power.

Unsurprisingly, I learned that the greener the power, the higher the cost. I also learned, though, that when you purchase green power, that amount of green power goes into a big grid of all the customers, so the more people who buy green, the higher the probability that the power entering our building will actually be green.

Did I lock-in the lowest price? (Who said the market is nothing but a crap shoot?!) I don't know, but I did make an informed decision that accomplished the RAC's and my goal of going green and saving a little green (the monetary kind!) of our own.


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