Why renewable energy

What is renewable energy?

According to the Texas Legislature, renewable energy is defined as:
"Any energy resource that is naturally regenerated over a short time scale and derived directly from the sun (such as thermal, photochemical, and photoelectric), indirectly from the sun (such as wind, hydropower, and photosynthetic energy stored in biomass), or from other natural movements and mechanisms of the environment (such as geothermal and tidal energy). Renewable energy does not include energy resources derived from fossil fuels, waste products from fossil sources, or waste products from inorganic sources."

What is cleaner electricity?

Cleaner electricity is generated from sources that produce little to no air pollution (carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides and/or radioactive waste, especially when compared to conventional system power. Momentum Bay purchases electricity generated from 100% new renewable sources (e.g., wind, solar, geothermal, biomass & hydropower) because we’re Striving for a healthier, sustainable TexasSM.

Why do businesses & households buy green power?

Here are some of the many reasons why Texan businesses & households purchase green power:

  • To take action on their personal & corporate values by doing the right thing.

  • To tap into our natural, renewable resources, since Texas is the #1 potential renewable energy state (#1 solar, #2 wind, #1 biomass), and since Texas could produce nearly five times more electricity than we currently use by using just our wind resources.

  • To complement other internal sustainability policies, practices & initiatives, such as, building or renovating a commercial building or office space with the intent to achieve LEED® Certification from the US Green Building Council®.

  • To mitigate financial risk & hedge against rising electricity prices or price volatility, because most renewable resources such as wind have no fuel costs.

  • To foster greater employee morale, lower absenteeism, lower recruitment costs, & better employee health.

  • To improve the health of employees, customers, marginalized/at-risk groups (e.g., children, the elderly, and others with weaker immune systems), the overall community & vital ecosystems by preventing harmful emissions of CO2, NO2, SO2, particulates, & nuclear waste.

  • To assert a leadership role within the community. Visit the EPA Green Power Partnership & the EPA Green Power Leadership Club webpages to view a list of companies recognized for their national leadership commitment to purchase 100% green power. Momentum Bay Associates LP was honored to be part of this short list (roughly 750 companies nationwide), but our company became ineligible when we became a vendor of green power.

  • To earn the right to be heard by their stakeholders – e.g., shareholders, employees, customers, regulators, etc. – via positive, authentic public relations & recognition.

  • To increase market share, create a competitive differentiation, and strengthen the Triple Bottom Line (3BL) – that is, their positive impacts on profit, people & planet.

  • To combat climate change in a practical, affordable, measurable way (learn more about the conservative global consensus on climate change in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's most recent report).

Considering issues like our economic security, overdependence on imported fossil fuels & fossil fuels in general, rising energy prices (now at all time highs), our global, national & Texan economies depend on our choosing cleaner electricity. And, the health & lives of our kids, spouses, neighbors, ourselves & the rest of creation (which supports us) depend on our choice of electricity, since 30% of all carbon emissions are caused by electricity generation.

Here are just a couple of the global scientific & economic research reports that compelled us to action.

First, in January 2007, the British Finance Minister published the Stern Review on the economics of climate change, an exhaustive analysis of the likely impacts of climate change on global business. Here are some highlights:

“There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we take strong action now.

The scientific evidence is now overwhelming: climate change is a serious global threat, and it demands an urgent global response.

… the benefits of strong and early action far outweigh the economic costs of not acting.

Climate change will affect the basic elements of life for people around the world – access to water, food production, health, and the environment. Hundreds of millions of people could suffer hunger, water shortages and coastal flooding as the world warms.

Using the results from formal economic models, the Review estimates that if we don’t act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever. If a wider range of risks and impacts is taken into account, the estimates of damage could rise to 20% of GDP or more.

In contrast, the costs of action – reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – can be limited to around 1% of global GDP each year.”

Click here to read the Executive Summary. Click here for the full report.

Second, in April 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its fifth comprehensive report. 130 countries and hundreds of the world’s leading scientists agreed that climate change, ocean acidification, species extinction and other harmful, even irreversible environmental consequences are largely human-caused. Even the United States chose to sign this report, because burning fossil fuels has increased the global carbon dioxide air pollutant emissions more rapidly than ever.

Third, besides harming the environment, excessive carbon dioxide and other air pollutants negatively impact children & adults, including those with asthma or impaired immune systems, especially the elderly and patients in our state’s world-renown medical centers. Since 30% of all carbon emissions come from electricity generation, our choice of 100% renewable electricity helps our families, friends & other neighbors. So, if we voluntarily switch to cleaner electricity, we can significantly increase the number of days we and our kids are able to live, work & play outdoors. For example, in 2006, Houstonians were warned not to go outdoors 36 out of 365 days because the ozone in Houston’s air exceeded the EPA’s 8-hour acceptable levels. Here are today’s air quality forecasts for major Texas cities from AIRNow to find out how your city ranks.

Does buying affordable, reliable, cleaner, renewable electricity make a difference to the environment & Texas?

Yes, definitely. Regarding the positive impact on Texas, purchasing renewable energy cleans up Texas’ air & people, according to the Public Utility Commission of Texas, since essentially all of the credits for renewable energy generation stay in Texas. Furthermore, Texas is the #1 potential renewable energy state (#1 solar, #2 wind, #1 biomass). And, we’re the #1 producer of wind power. So, buying renewable energy creates jobs & can help Texas continue to lead the nation and even possibly all other countries in renewable energy production.

And, here’s how one family’s or company’s choice of 100% renewable electricity impacts the environment. Using one of our employee's households & our office as examples, here is how we always start with ourselves to create a healthier, sustainable Texas. In 21 months, one family’s choice of 100% renewable energy at home has:

  • Reduced their electricity usage by 50% relative to the average American household, and

  • Avoided ~ 21,000+ pounds of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to:

  • Not driving ~ 23,000 automobile miles

  • Planting ~ 2,000 trees, or

  • Recycling ~ 56,000 aluminum cans.

And, after we reduced our corporate office’s usage through natural daylighting strategies, ENERGY STAR equipment, laptops vs. desktops, and other good habits, our firm’s choice of 100% renewable energy has:

  • Earned us recognition as an EPA Green Power Leader before we became an electricity broker or aggregator, and

  • Avoided ~ 5,200 pounds of CO2 emissions, equivalent to:

  • Not driving ~ 5,700 automobile miles

  • Planting ~ 500 trees, or

  • Recycling ~ 14,000 aluminum cans.

What is the best alternative energy?

According to the Energy Information Administration, as of 2004, Texas outranked any other state in as the highest consumer of coal, natural gas, petroleum & retail electricity even though Texas' ranked second in population to California, which had 58% or 13 million more people than Texas. And, the United States uses 3 times more electricity per capita to achieve the same level of human development as seven other industrialized (developed) countries. (We found these Human Development Index Charts insightful: kWh & CO2.) By conserving, like other countries do & as we were taught by those who lived through the Great Depression, we can enjoy the same or better quality of life more healthily & more affordably.

In our opinion, the best alternative energy is conservation that starts with me. That’s why Momentum Bay provides training & education via our ECO [BOOT CAMP]SM & sustainability consulting after we demonstrate in our own personal & work lives the positive economic, social, ecological & faith impacts of our green lifestyle choices & new habits. Our goal is to help clients become more effective (i.e., healthier) & efficient by reducing energy consumption while maintaining or even improving quality of life/work so they can inspire others.

Will I need to rewire my home?

Buying cleaner electricity requires NO rewiring or special equipment. In Texas, all retail electricity generated goes on our common regional power grid, like water poured into a pool. Everyone is connected to the same power grid. Your choice of green electricity simply cleans the overall “water in the pool,” or electricity on the grid.

How can I calculate the air pollution that I prevent by purchasing renewable energy?

It is pretty simple to calculate for yourself. To calculate the CO2 emissions you avoid, you simply multiply your monthly electric usage (in kWh) times the percentage of new renewable generation in your product (e.g., 100%), times the CO2 emission rate of typical Texas power (1.468 lbs/kWh). To convert CO2 emissions avoided to auto miles not driven, divide by 0.9 lbs CO2 / mile. Or, to convert to the number of aluminum cans recycled vs. virgin aluminum cans, multiply by 5426.71 cans / metric ton CO2. Or, multiply by 0.10 trees / lb CO2 to convert to the equivalent number of trees planted.

How does my current electricity provider’s plan compare to 100% renewable electricity?

When you sign up for Momentum Bay's GREEN POWER 4 TEXAS, please send us your most recent electricity bill, and we will send you back a comparison of your current electricity plan and 100% renewable electricity.