The 42,000 people living in Burlington, Vermont can now feel confident that when they turn on their TVs or power up their computers they are using renewable energy. With the purchase of the 7.4 megawatt Winooski One hydroelectric project earlier this month, the Burlington Electric Department now owns or contracts renewable sources — including wind, hydro, and biomass — equivalent to the city’s needs.
“We’re now in a position where we’re supplying Burlington residents with sources that are renewable,”said Ken Nolan, manager of power resources for Burlington Electric Department, earlier this month. “The prices are not tied to fossil fuels — they’re stable prices — and they provide us with the flexibility, from an environmental standpoint, to really react to any regulation or changes to environmental standards that come in the future.”
They touch on something that most forget when thinking about renewable energy v. fossil fuels, volatility of cost.
Renewable energy has zero fluctuations in price. There is no money used for fuel to create electricity, therefore there are no fluctuations in energy costs. Fossil Fuels, on the other hand, must be purchased at market value, which means that the cost to produce electricity can change. This leads to changes in the cost to consumers.
And when was the last time you have seen the cost of fossil fuels go down over the long term?
Wouldn’t you rather have the cost of electricity to be constant rather than a continued escalation of prices?