Local Renewable Energy Benefits and Resources
Green Power Opportunities
- Benefits of Renewable Energy
- Implementing On-site Renewable Energy Projects
- Tools and Resources
Local governments can dramatically reduce their carbon footprint by purchasing or directly generating electricity from clean, renewable sources.
The most common renewable power technologies include:
- Solar (photovoltaic, solar thermal)
- Biogas (e.g., landfill gas/wastewater treatment digester gas)
- Low-impact hydroelectricity
- Emerging technologies - wave and tidal power
Local governments can lead by example by generating energy on–site, purchasing green power, or purchasing renewable energy. Using a combination of renewable energy options can help meet local government goals especially in some regions where availability and quality of renewable resources vary.
Options for using renewable energy include:
Generating renewable energy on-site using a system or device at the location where the power is used (e.g., PV panels on a state building, geothermal heat pumps, biomass-fueled combined heat and power).
Purchasing green power through through renewable energy certificates (RECs) - also known as green tags, green energy certificates, or tradable renewable certificates – that represent the technology and environmental attributes of electricity generated from renewable resources.
Purchasing renewable energy from an electric utility through a green pricing or green marketing program, where buyers pay a small premium in exchange for electricity generated locally from green power resources.
Benefits of Renewable Energy
Environmental and economic benefits of using renewable energy include:
- Generating energy that produces no greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and reduces some types of air pollution
- Diversifying energy supply and reducing dependence on imported fuels
- Creating economic development and jobs in manufacturing, installation, and more
Implementing On-site Renewable Energy Projects
On-site power generation provides local governments with the most direct access to renewable energy. In addition to the overall benefits, on-site projects also provide a hedge against financial risks and improve power quality and supply reliability.
However, local governments considering on-site generation may face possible technical, financial, and regulatory challenges. To overcome these challenges, local governments can:
- Assess the availability of local renewable resources
- Consider the costs of different renewable technologies
- Examine the aggregate costs and benefits of on-site green power
- Consider permitting requirements for locations where the facility could be sited
- Involve local stakeholders, particularly concerning siting
- Assess available sources of financing and other incentives